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  1. Clinical Definition of OCD
  2. Learn More About OCD
  3. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (for Parents) - KidsHealth
  4. What is OCD?
  5. Obsessive compulsive disorder

Clinical Definition of OCD

You can also:. Quickly self-soothe and relieve anxiety symptoms by making use of one or more of your physical senses —sight, smell, hearing, touch, taste—or movement. You might try listening to a favorite piece of music, looking at a treasured photo, savoring a cup of tea, or stroking a pet. Practice relaxation techniques.

Mindful meditation, yoga, deep breathing, and other relaxation techniques can help lower your overall stress and tension levels and help you manage your urges. For best results, try practicing a relaxation technique regularly. A healthy, balanced lifestyle plays a big role in easing anxiety and keeping OCD compulsions, fears, and worry at bay. Exercise regularly. Exercise is a natural and effective anti-anxiety treatment that helps to control OCD symptoms by refocusing your mind when obsessive thoughts and compulsions arise.

For maximum benefit, try to get 30 minutes or more of aerobic activity on most days.

Ten minutes several times a day can be as effective as one longer period especially if you pay mindful attention to the movement process. Get enough sleep.

Not only can anxiety and worry cause insomnia, but a lack of sleep can also exacerbate anxious thoughts and feelings. Avoid alcohol and nicotine.

Learn More About OCD

Alcohol temporarily reduces anxiety and worry, but it actually causes anxiety symptoms as it wears off. Similarly, while it may seem that cigarettes are calming, nicotine is actually a powerful stimulant. Smoking leads to higher, not lower, levels of anxiety and OCD symptoms.


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Cognitive-behavioral therapy is the most effective treatment for obsessive-compulsive disorder and generally involves two components:. Antidepressants are sometimes used in conjunction with therapy for the treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder. However, medication alone is rarely effective in relieving the symptoms. Family Therapy. Since OCD often causes problems in family life and social adjustment, family therapy can help promote understanding of the disorder and reduce family conflicts.

It can also motivate family members and teach them how to help their loved one with OCD.

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Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (for Parents) - KidsHealth

Group Therapy. Through interaction with fellow OCD sufferers, group therapy provides support and encouragement and decreases feelings of isolation. In some people, OCD symptoms such as compulsive washing or hoarding are ways of coping with trauma.


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If you have post-traumatic OCD, cognitive approaches may not be effective until underlying traumatic issues are resolved. Negative comments or criticism can make OCD worse, while a calm, supportive environment can help improve the outcome of treatment.

What is OCD?

Avoid making personal criticisms. Be as kind and patient as possible. Each sufferer needs to overcome problems at their own pace. Support the person, not their compulsions. Keep communication positive and clear. Communication is important so you can find a balance between supporting your loved one and standing up to the OCD symptoms and not further distressing your loved one.

Find the humor. Laughing together over the funny side and absurdity of some OCD symptoms can help your loved one become more detached from the disorder. Just make sure your loved one feels respected and in on the joke. Try to keep family life as normal as possible and the home a low-stress environment. International OCD Foundation. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder in Children — Including common symptoms and behaviors. Exposure: How to do it — How to create and use fear ladders. Anxiety Canada Youth. Call National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Anxiety Disorders Association of America. Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Call: Anxiety UK. Anxiety Disorders Association of Canada. Call: 18 SANE Australia.

Obsessive compulsive disorder

Call: or Vandrevala Foundation. Authors: Melinda Smith, M. Last updated: July OCD symptoms in children While the onset of obsessive-compulsive disorder usually occurs during adolescence or young adulthood, younger children sometimes have symptoms that look like OCD. Is unresolved trauma playing a role in your OCD? Recommended video. Other Resources. KidsHealth Exposure: How to do it — How to create and use fear ladders.

Hotlines and support. Support in the U. Pin Share 1K. The obsessive-compulsive symptoms are not attributable to the physiological effects of a substance e. The disturbance is not better explained by the symptoms of another mental disorder e. With good or fair insight : The individual recognizes that obsessive-compulsive disorder beliefs are definitely or probably not true or that they may or may not be true.

American Psychiatric Association. We aim to connect people dealing with OCD and anxiety with the resources and information they need to thrive. Presence of obsessions, compulsions, or both: Obsessions are defined by 1 and 2 : 1. Compulsions are defined by 1 and 2 : 1. Specify if: With good or fair insight : The individual recognizes that obsessive-compulsive disorder beliefs are definitely or probably not true or that they may or may not be true.

Specify if: Tic-related: The individual has a current or past history of a tic disorder.