• Jul 26, 2021
How to overcome OCD

Needs break in on us and we try to satisfy them one by one in the shortest possible time. We move around for hours resoundingly following what we silently desire. In this infinite list of needs, a sense begins to emerge when it is accompanied by tenacity, but that contracts to an arbitrary and demanding whim when we are unable to differentiate tenacity and obsession; this inability to recognize us abstracts into total and narcissistic control of every event in our lives. In this Psychology-Online article we explain more about this problem that perhaps dismays many of the readers, this obsessive need for control: the Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and How to Overcome It.

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  1. What is obsessive compulsive disorder
  2. What are obsessions and compulsions
  3. Symptoms of obsessive compulsive disorder
  4. How to overcome obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
  5. Difference of obsessive compulsive disorder and obsessive compulsive personality disorder

What is obsessive compulsive disorder.

The obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is one of the mental disorders included in the DSM 5 Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, which is characterized by presenting obsessions and compulsions. This disorder differs from normal development in that the worries and rituals are more excessive, intense, or persistent.

The subject suffering from OCD can have a good introspection about his symptoms, that is, acknowledge that their beliefs are clearly or probably false. For this reason, DSM 5 (2013) offers specifiers that help with the orderly and precise diagnosis of the pathology: with good or acceptable introspection, with little introspection, with no introspection or with beliefs delusional.

According to DSM 5 (2013), the most frequent age of onset is at nineteen years and 25% at fourteen years. Onset after age 35 is unusual but can occur, suggesting further exploration of its causes (for example the symptoms are produced by an organic disease such as the syndrome of McLeod). Its onset is usually gradual but can also occur acutely.

What are obsessions and compulsions.

The two manifestations of OCD are obsessions and compulsions:

Obsessions or obsessive thoughts in OCD

Obsessions are thoughts, images, or impulses that have a recurring and persistent character. People experience obsessions like intrusive or unwanted (assault conscious thought) frequently causing anxiety or significant clinical discomfort.

An example of an obsession could be the frequent image or thought of one's own house on fire, a family member getting injured, or oneself contracting some serious illness... and each one of them in a stubborn way making power difficult or impossible elude them.

Compulsions in OCD

Compulsions can be behaviors aimed at alleviating, preventing, or reducing anxiety or tension produced by obsessions, they can also aim to avoid a feared event or situation (obsessions). For example washing your hands, checking the stove keys, checking the door lock and windows over and over, tapping the desk a specified number of times, body rituals, order.

Compulsions can also be mental acts with the same purpose of relieving the tension of obsessions (eg praying, counting, repeating words silently). Compulsions may not be at all connected to the events to be avoided (for example, washing hands or touching the watch three times to prevent a family member from accident).

Children very rarely have the ability to describe the goals of these mental acts or behaviors.

Obsessions and compulsions demand or take a long time (more than one hour per day) or are capable of producing clinically significant discomfort or deterioration.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Symptoms.

The main symptoms of obsessive compulsive disorder are the following:

  • Many people with OCD report dysfunctional beliefs. These beliefs may be an exaggerated sense of responsibility, a predisposition or tendency to overestimate threats or danger, perfectionism, intolerance of uncertainty, giving excessive importance to thoughts (for example, believing that having a bad thinking is just as bad as doing it), they often have a rigid moral code and a need to control their own ideas.
  • The most characteristic symptoms are the presence of obsessions and compulsions.
  • Difficulty throwing things away and storing objects (accumulation) as a result of your obsessions and compulsions.
  • People with OCD experience varied affective responses when faced with situations that provoke obsessions and compulsions. (For example anxiety, panic attacks or excessive feelings of disgust).
  • It is common for people with OCD avoid places, people or things that can trigger obsessions and compulsions.
  • For the time invested in compulsions there is a great social and cognitive impairment.

How to overcome obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)

How to get out of obsessive compulsive disorder? Psychological treatment and pharmacological treatment are two options that must be taken into account. Is it possible to get out of OCD without medication? The lower the severity or intensity of the symptoms, the greater the probability that psychological treatment will be very useful; the greater the severity of the symptoms, the greater the intensity of the symptoms, the more likely it is necessary to intervene with drug treatment.

How to overcome obsessions

  • Psychological treatment of OCD. The psychological treatment that is considered most appropriate for obsessive compulsive disorder is that focused on the cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), where mental schemes or maladaptive thoughts (obsessions) are evaluated in order to confront the effectiveness of compulsions as regulators of these thoughts. The therapist focuses on the modification of thought patterns to achieve changes in behavior (compulsions), and per se in the affectivity of the patient.
  • Pharmacological treatment of OCD. The drug of first choice for the treatment of obsessive compulsive disorder is the tricyclic antidepressant clomipramine (Anafranil or clomicalm, trade names), for its ability to raise the concentration of serotonin. Here you will find more information about tricyclic antidepressants. But the interactions, contraindications and side effects of this drug should be taken into account before using it. For example, interactions with MAOIs, sympathomimetics, CNS depressants, SSRIs, anticoagulants, antihypertensives are known and among the known side effects are the drowsiness, dry mouth, nausea, diarrhea, sexual dysfunction, headaches, constipation, changes in appetite or weight, extrapyramidal symptoms, difficulty urinating, rhythm elevated heart rate. The fluvoxamine It is recommended as the second option in pharmacological treatment due to its greater tolerance by reducing side effects but with a slower response.

In the following article you will find more information about How to eliminate obsessive compulsive thoughts.

Difference of obsessive compulsive disorder and obsessive compulsive personality disorder.

The characteristic that is set in the differential diagnosis It is the absence of obsessions and compulsions, which being present concurrently with the diagnosis of obsessive compulsive personality disorder, both must be diagnosed.

The obsessive compulsive personality disorder (ODD) manifested by a persistent pattern of perfectionism, concern for order, interpersonal control, and mental (trying in every possible way to control thought and relationships with others) and efficiency. People diagnosed with OCT worry about the order, rules, details and organization until they neglect the main motives of the activities; the TPOC could be better characterized with a excessive and persistent perfectionism without the presence of obsessions or compulsions.

This article collects all types of personality disorders.

This article is merely informative, in Psychology-Online we do not have the power to make a diagnosis or recommend a treatment. We invite you to go to a psychologist to treat your particular case.

If you want to read more articles similar to How to overcome OCD, we recommend that you enter our category of Clinical psychology.


American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM 5). Editorial Panamericana


  • American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM 5). Editorial Panamericana
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