Why Suppressing Obsessive Thoughts Makes Them Worse (2022)

If you have obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), you may find yourself trying to figure out how you can stop having OCD thoughts. You are not alone.

However, what many people with OCD don't realize is that the distressing thoughts they experience are not necessarily something that they have (or can have) control over. While this fact might initially make you feel stressed, understanding how your OCD thinking works and why it happens will help you develop more effective ways to cope.

Why Suppressing Obsessive Thoughts Makes Them Worse (1)

10 Things You Might Not Know About OCD

What Are OCD Thoughts?

A 2014 study published in the Journal of Obsessive Compulsive and Related Disorders interviewed 777 college students in 13 different countries and found that around 94% of them had experienced at least one unwanted intrusive thought during the previous three months. While many experience these odd or even disturbing thoughts, most people don’t register them as an issue in their daily lives.The problem is when they become not just intrusive but obsessive.

A person with OCD can experience intrusive thoughts relentlessly and with an intensity that can seriously affect their well-being. Rather than having a neutral response to a passing thought, a person with OCD experiences a response in their mind and body. The more they perseverate on the thought, the more anxiety they experience. The cycle can be distressing and may impact their ability to function.

You may not be able to control whether an intrusive thought pops into your head, but you can control how you react to it.

If you have OCD and struggle with intrusive thoughts, here is some key information about why these thoughts happen and how you can learn to cope with them.

What Is an Obsessive Thought?

Thought-Action Fusion

People with OCD may believe that simply thinking about something disturbing (such as molesting a neighbor or killing their spouse) is morally equivalent to carrying out the act. They may even believe that if they have a thought (such as getting into a car crash or contracting a serious disease), it means the event will happen—unless they do something to prevent it.

This is called thought-action fusion, and it is one reason that intrusive thoughts are more distressing for people with OCD.

(Video) Intrusive Thoughts - Why Suppressing Thoughts Doesn't Work (part 2 of 3)

Instead of letting their thoughts come and go, people with OCD often take personal responsibility for the thoughts they have. They also tend to interpret these thoughts as being more significant than they really are.

Thought-Action Fusion and OCD

Compulsions & Obsessive Thoughts

Perceiving thoughts as being urgent and important makes a person feel that they must immediately act on or respond to them in the "right" way. A person with OCD may develop compulsions in response to their obsessive thoughts.

Behavioral Compulsions

Behavioral compulsions are actions and behaviors that are used in an attempt to alleviate the distress intrusive thoughts cause. Compulsions can be a little like superstitions for people with OCD. Often, the person recognizes that the behaviors are not rational (this is known as insight), but the fear of what they believe will happen if they don't perform them is compelling.

Completing a ritual temporarily relieves the anxiety but keeps a person stuck in the cycle because it reinforces the obsessive thinking.

For example, a person who obsesses about their home burning down while they are at work might compulsively check that the stove is off before they leave the house every day. When they return home at the end of the day and their house has not burned down, it reinforces the belief that their ritual (for example, checking a certain number of times or checking in a specific order) "worked."

Mental Compulsions

Compulsions can also be mental. For example, a person might believe that if they do not "think through" or analyze a thought sufficiently, it will become a reality. Thinking about a "bad" thought can also be an attempt to neutralize it or "balance it out."

Repeatedly giving attention and mental energy to an intrusive thought can initially feel like productive problem-solving. In reality, the obsessive pattern of thinking doesn't usually give someone with OCD any helpful insight.

In fact, it's more likely to make a person's anxiety worse. Perseverating also keeps the cycle of intrusive thoughts and compulsive behaviors going.

Why Suppression Backfires

If a person with OCD believes that their intrusive thoughts are dangerous, they may try to closely monitor them. It may feel like necessary vigilance, but the intensity with which someone monitors their own thinking can easily become hypervigilance.

Once a person labels a certain thought as dangerous and becomes hyperaware of it, they can become overwhelmed. When this happens, they might respond by trying to push the thought away. While it might seem like a good solution, it’s not easy—and it doesn't necessarily work. Research has shown that thought suppression in people with OCD can lead to the development of more intrusive thoughts.

(Video) Intrusive Thoughts and Overthinking: The Skill of Cognitive Defusion 20/30

Accepting the thoughts does not mean you are giving up. Understanding that you don't have control does not mean you are giving the intrusive thoughts control over you.

Thought Stopping and Controlling Obsessive Thoughts

What to Do Instead

You can be aware of an intrusive thought without trying to stop it. You can start by trying to recognize that the thought is trying to control you (for example, by making you feel the need to perform a compulsion) and consciously challenging it.

The first step you take might be to simply pause when the thought comes up rather than immediately responding to its urgent demand.

It might be uncomfortable to consider the thought from a distance and resist the urge to perform a ritual. Over time, defusing your obsessive thoughts this way can actually help you feel more in control.

Once you are able to put some space between you and your thoughts, you can start to look at them more objectively. Then, you can figure out what triggers the thoughts and take a closer (but non-judgmental) look at how you react.

Try not to be too hard on yourself or get discouraged during this process. It takes practice to distance yourself from your thoughts. Obsessive thinking is intense and persistent by nature. Sometimes, instructing yourself not to think about a thought only brings more attention to it.

Cognitive Distortions and OCD

Separating Your Thoughts From Your Identity

Even if you don't experience thought-action fusion, you likely have to deal with obsessive thoughts on a daily basis if you have OCD. You may feel so overwhelmed at times that you would give anything to stop the cycle.

Although it is easier to say than to believe, thoughts are just strings of words and are not inherently dangerous. You are not obliged to take a thought seriously just because your brain generated it.

You Are Not Your Thoughts

The intrusive thoughts you experience are not necessarily a reflection of who you are, but when they become obsessive, they can be influenced by the things that cause you the most worry and anxiety.

(Video) 8. OCD Treatment: How to stop the thoughts! Part 1

Moreover, your thoughts do not necessarily say anything about you. Having a "bad" thought does not mean that you are a "bad" person.

Try to remember that intrusive thoughts don't always align with your core values, beliefs, and morals. In fact, OCD thoughts tend to attack and focus on the things that offend you. The same can be true for intrusive thoughts that cause fear, which tend to be based on what you are most concerned about (for example, the health and safety of your family).

Handling Guilt and Shame

People with OCD can feel an overwhelming amount of fear and guilt about the intrusive thoughts they experience. They may also experience deep shame, embarrassment, and even self-hatred.

Try to be kind and patient with yourself. Remember that everyone experiences intrusive thoughts at times, and they are not something you are expected to be in control of. It is a good practice to recognize the intrusive thought or feeling you are having, but that does not mean you have to identify with it.

Once you accept that you cannot completely control your thoughts, you can start building the habit of acknowledging them without letting them take control.

People with OCD can also experience depression, anxiety, substance use disorders, and other mental health conditions.

Getting Help

If your OCD thoughts are making it hard for you to function at home, school, or work, and you feel that you cannot cope with them, talk to a doctor or mental health professional. While it can be difficult to ask for help, there are treatments for OCD that could help you feel better.

How OCD Is Treated

Medication

Many people with OCD take one or more medications to help them manage symptoms. They may take antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications, or other commonly prescribed drugs for mental health conditions.

Some people with OCD also use herbal or natural supplements to help manage their symptoms. However, it is not always safe to take these products with prescription medications. If you want to try an alternative remedy, ask a doctor.

Therapy

Several types of psychotherapy can be used to help someone with OCD manage obsessive thoughts. The most common is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), specifically an approach known as exposure therapy.

People with OCD are often treated using an approach called exposure and response prevention therapy(ERP). In ERP, you and a therapist will work directly with your obsessive thoughts as well as any associated compulsions. You will use techniques like role-playing situations that cause you distress and talking through your thought process with your therapist.

(Video) How to Treat OCD & Obsessive Thoughts - Thought Suppression

It might feel overwhelming or frightening to think about confronting your thoughts, but keep in mind that exposure work is done slowly, gradually, and with plenty of support.

The Best Online Therapy ProgramsWe've tried, tested and written unbiased reviews of the best online therapy programs including Talkspace, Betterhelp, and Regain.

Mindfulness

If you have OCD, mindfulness techniques may help you develop a more objective perspective on your obsessive thoughts. Mindfulness exercises might already be part of your therapy, but you can also try them on your own. There are even apps you can use to track your progress.

Many people with OCD ultimately need more than one type of treatment to effectively manage their symptoms. A doctor or therapist can help you find the combination that works best for you.

Deep Brain Stimulation May Help People Deal with OCD Symptoms

A Word From Verywell

Everyone experiences occasional intrusive thoughts. While they can be odd or even disturbing, most people don’t think too much about them—the thoughts simply come and go. If you have OCD, however, these thoughts can become obsessive. You may find it difficult to cope, and they may make it hard for you to function in your daily life.

Try to resist the urge to push the intrusive thoughts away. Suppression might feel like a logical solution, but it can actually intensify, rather than lessen, the obsessiveness and distress you experience around them.

Your thoughts are real, but make it your goal to acknowledge them without identifying with them. It can help if you avoid analyzing or questioning these thoughts too much, which will only keep the cycle going.

If you are struggling to cope with intrusive thoughts, talk to a doctor or a mental health provider. If you have OCD, there are treatments that can help you manage your symptoms.

If you or a loved one are struggling with OCD, contact theSubstance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Helplineat 1-800-662-4357 for information on support and treatment facilities in your area.

For more mental health resources, see ourNational Helpline Database.

(Video) Pushing thoughts away? Try This!

Strategies for Living With OCD

FAQs

What happens when you suppress intrusive thoughts? ›

Trying to suppress an intrusive, unwanted thought can cause it to rebound, or reoccur. This happens because, while an initial thought can occur automatically and without any mental effort, trying to suppress it is a controlled, conscious process that requires mental resources.

How do you ignore an obsessive thought? ›

Five Tips to Stop Intrusive Thoughts
  1. Don't suppress the thought. ...
  2. Recognize the difference between thought and reality. ...
  3. Identify the triggers. ...
  4. Implement a positive change into your daily routine. ...
  5. Talk it out and don't rule out therapy. ...
  6. Recommended for You.
18 May 2020

Why do intrusive thoughts get worse? ›

Intrusive thoughts are often triggered by stress or anxiety. They may also be a short-term problem brought on by biological factors, such as hormone shifts. For example, a woman might experience an uptick in intrusive thoughts after the birth of a child.

Is thought suppression healthy? ›

Thought suppression was also associated with meeting criteria for a SCID depressive or adjustment disorder. Engaging in thought suppression was associated with worse mental health in this sample of homebound older adults even after taking into account physical health, disability, and cognitive functioning.

How do you break the cycle of obsessive thoughts? ›

Tips for addressing ruminating thoughts
  1. Distract yourself. When you realize you're starting to ruminate, finding a distraction can break your thought cycle. ...
  2. Plan to take action. ...
  3. Take action. ...
  4. Question your thoughts. ...
  5. Readjust your life's goals. ...
  6. Work on enhancing your self-esteem. ...
  7. Try meditation. ...
  8. Understand your triggers.

Is suppression a healthy defense mechanism? ›

Suppression is considered a mature defense mechanism, because it promotes healthy functioning in adults. As such, it belongs to the top of the hierarchy of defense maturity and adaptedness (Blaya et al. 2007; Vaillant 1985).

What is the best medication for obsessive thoughts? ›

Medications
  • Clomipramine (Anafranil) for adults and children 10 years and older.
  • Fluoxetine (Prozac) for adults and children 7 years and older.
  • Fluvoxamine for adults and children 8 years and older.
  • Paroxetine (Paxil, Pexeva) for adults only.
  • Sertraline (Zoloft) for adults and children 6 years and older.
11 Mar 2020

What does the Bible say about controlling your mind from unwanted thoughts? ›

6 Biblical Steps on How To Remove Negative Thoughts from Your Mind

What are obsessive thoughts examples? ›

Examples of obsession signs and symptoms include:
  • Fear of being contaminated by touching objects others have touched.
  • Doubts that you've locked the door or turned off the stove.
  • Intense stress when objects aren't orderly or facing a certain way.
  • Images of driving your car into a crowd of people.
11 Mar 2020

Does OCD go away if you ignore it? ›

Obsessive-compulsive disorder is a chronic condition. This means it won't fix itself and is generally not cured completely. So to the first question: OCD does not go away on its own, without treatment.

Why are intrusive thoughts worse at night? ›

At night, our mind is a big open space. And when we're tired and our minds are left wide open, we're a lot more vulnerable to intrusive, anxious thoughts. If your nighttime anxiety is impacting your ability to function every day, consider seeking the help of a mental health professional.

Does talking about OCD make it worse? ›

Talk therapy has been shown to be very effective for some conditions, such as anxiety and depression, but it's typically not effective for treating OCD. In fact, talk therapy can often exacerbate OCD — making symptoms worse — by having those with OCD repeatedly analyze their thoughts and attempt to solve them.

How do you stop OCD thoughts naturally? ›

6 Best Strategies to Combat Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
  1. Practice mindfulness to manage stress. Two key characteristics of OCD are high anxiety and the presence of intrusive thoughts. ...
  2. Get plenty of exercise. ...
  3. Sleep well and enough. ...
  4. Avoid nicotine and alcohol. ...
  5. Reach out to family and friends. ...
  6. Find an ERP therapist.
7 Jan 2021

What part of the brain causes intrusive thoughts? ›

01 Intrusive thoughts are caused by misfired signals in the amygdala. 02 According to Dr. Phillipson, intrusive thoughts are a mental disorder, not a mental illness.

How do you calm your brain for OCD? ›

  1. Manage your stress. Stress and anxiety can make OCD worse. ...
  2. Try a relaxation technique. Relaxation can help you look after your wellbeing when you are feeling stressed, anxious or busy. ...
  3. Try mindfulness. You might find that your CBT therapist includes some principles of mindfulness in your therapy.

Why does my brain get stuck on thoughts? ›

Intrusive thoughts can be a symptom of other mental illnesses, too, including depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, bipolar disorder, substance use disorder and even burnout or chronic stress, therapist Kristin Erskine said.

What causes obsessive thinking? ›

Brain imaging studies indicate that obsessive thinking is associated with a neurological dysfunction of unknown cause that forces thoughts into repetitive loops. While some people find themselves obsessing for the first time, others may have had multiple episodes, the specific content changing over time.

Are obsessive thoughts Part of anxiety? ›

Obsessive thoughts – defined as persistent thoughts that are difficult to remove – are common in many anxiety disorders. The irony is that the anxiety caused by the thoughts themselves often lead to more of these same thoughts.

Which is worse suppression or repression? ›

While the suppression of impulses and thoughts will lead to the emergence of anger and conflict, the repression of impulses can lead to far worse repercussions.

What happens when you suppress your emotions? ›

Suppressed emotions stay in the body. The effects of suppressed emotions include anxiety, depression, and other stress-related illnesses. Such suppression can lead to alcohol and substance abuse. (Read more about the link between childhood trauma and addiction here.)

What is the difference between suppress and repressed? ›

Repression is often confused with suppression, another type of defense mechanism. Where repression involves unconsciously blocking unwanted thoughts or impulses, suppression is entirely voluntary. Specifically, suppression is deliberately trying to forget or not think about painful or unwanted thoughts.

What mental illness has intrusive thoughts? ›

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is characterized by repetitive, unwanted, intrusive thoughts (obsessions) and irrational, excessive urges to do certain actions (compulsions). Although people with OCD may know that their thoughts and behavior don't make sense, they are often unable to stop them.

Are obsessive thoughts OCD? ›

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: When Unwanted Thoughts or Repetitive Behaviors Take Over. People who are distressed by recurring, unwanted, and uncontrollable thoughts or who feel driven to repeat specific behaviors may have obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

Does everyone have intrusive thoughts? ›

They're called “intrusive thoughts” and nearly everyone has them from time to time. They can range from random images to disturbing and violent ideas like punching someone in the face or hurting yourself. They're usually harmless.

What does God say about overthinking? ›

“We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ” (NLT). God has given us the power to take control of our thoughts. When overthinking becomes an obstacle to our relationship with Him, it's time to capture those thoughts!

What does God say about OCD? ›

If you're combatting this disorder, here are some bible verses for OCD that can help you cope with symptoms: 2 Timothy 1:7: For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love, and of self-control. 1 Peter 5:7: Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.

Does God understand OCD? ›

Luther says that God allows OCD in order to cure us of “righteousness and presumption.” That means, essentially, to cure us of too much boldness in what we claim for ourselves. We think we ought to be able to control our circumstances so that bad things never happen to us.

What is the root of obsession? ›

Many people who experience obsessions show a genetic predisposition to it. One thought is that obsessions may be something that we inherit through our DNA. Other experts think there may be chemical differences within some peoples' brains that might make you more likely to have obsessions.

How people should deal with obsession? ›

How to control an obsession
  • Distract yourself at varying intervals. ...
  • Accomplish a task that helps put your obsession behind you. ...
  • Focus on your greater mission. ...
  • Adopt a practice that grounds you. ...
  • Listen to what others tell you.
26 Apr 2010

What is considered obsessive behavior? ›

Obsessions are recurrent and persistent thoughts, impulses, or images that cause distressing emotions such as anxiety or disgust. Many people with OCD recognize that the thoughts, impulses, or images are a product of their mind and are excessive or unreasonable.

Who is a famous person with OCD? ›

A longtime entertainer, host, and comedian, Howie Mandel is one of the most famous people with OCD and he has been incredibly open over the years about his struggle with the disorder.

Why is OCD so hard to overcome? ›

The bulk of the problems occurring within your OCD come from you. The main reason that compulsions seem so hard to stop is because you have rehearsed them so often that they have become very automatic habits that are easy to do without thinking. You get good at things you rehearse a lot.

Does reassurance make OCD worse? ›

Providing reassurance to someone with OCD can make the issue worse.

Do people with OCD need more sleep? ›

Sleep is particularly important for people with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), a disorder marked by intrusive thoughts and compulsions. An exhausted brain can cause OCD symptoms to feel much worse. But many people with OCD have difficulty getting a good night's sleep.

Why do I keep waking up at 3am with anxiety? ›

“If you wake up and begin to experience worry, anxiety or frustration, you likely have activated your sympathetic nervous system, your 'fight-or-flight' system,” says Dr. Kane. “When this happens, your brain switches from sleep mode to wake mode.

How do you turn off your brain so you can sleep? ›

Busy Brain? Tips to Quiet an Active Mind for Sleep
  1. Not Sleepy? Stay Up. 1/10. ...
  2. Put Off Paying the Bills. 2/10. ...
  3. Make a To-Do List. 3/10. ...
  4. Let Your Muscles Fully Relax. 4/10. ...
  5. Slow Your Breath, Slow Your Mind. 5/10. ...
  6. Make Your Bedroom a No-Screen Zone. 6/10. ...
  7. Meditate. 7/10. ...
  8. Call Out Your Worries. 8/10.
22 Feb 2022

What makes OCD flare up? ›

They can be triggered by a personal crisis, abuse, or something negative that affects you a lot, like the death of a loved one. It's more likely if people in your family have OCD or another mental health disorder, such as depression or anxiety. OCD symptoms include obsessions, compulsions, or both.

What can worsen OCD symptoms? ›

Trauma, stress, and abuse all can be a cause of OCD getting worse. OCD causes intense urges to complete a task or perform a ritual. For those who have the condition, obsessions and compulsions can begin to rule their life.

Does OCD get better or worse with age? ›

Symptoms fluctuate in severity from time to time, and this fluctuation may be related to the occurrence of stressful events. Because symptoms usually worsen with age, people may have difficulty remembering when OCD began, but can sometimes recall when they first noticed that the symptoms were disrupting their lives.

What vitamin helps OCD? ›

Vitamin B12 and folate are thought to be effective in OCD treatment due to their associations with neurotransmitters. Depending on their antioxidant effect, zinc and selenium can be used in augmentation therapy for OCD.

How do I get out of OCD loop? ›

Call a friend to both distract yourself and take the spotlight off of your thoughts. Also, doing something physical (whether active or restorative) can help draw your attention to your physical body and outward reality, breaking the cycle and proving to yourself that you can regain control over your thoughts.

How do you get rid of obsessive thoughts? ›

Tips for addressing ruminating thoughts
  1. Distract yourself. When you realize you're starting to ruminate, finding a distraction can break your thought cycle. ...
  2. Plan to take action. ...
  3. Take action. ...
  4. Question your thoughts. ...
  5. Readjust your life's goals. ...
  6. Work on enhancing your self-esteem. ...
  7. Try meditation. ...
  8. Understand your triggers.

Which chemical is responsible for overthinking? ›

Cortisol is the main villain who creates unhealthy overthinking and is released in the hypothalamus – a region very near to the centre of your brain.

What part of the brain controls obsession? ›

Imaging, surgical, and lesion studies suggest that the prefrontal cortex (orbitofrontal and anterior cingulate cortexes), basal ganglia, and thalamus are involved in the pathogenesis of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

What is the best medication for obsessive thoughts? ›

Medications
  • Clomipramine (Anafranil) for adults and children 10 years and older.
  • Fluoxetine (Prozac) for adults and children 7 years and older.
  • Fluvoxamine for adults and children 8 years and older.
  • Paroxetine (Paxil, Pexeva) for adults only.
  • Sertraline (Zoloft) for adults and children 6 years and older.
11 Mar 2020

How can I control my OCD without medication? ›

Psychotherapy or talk therapy has been used effectively to treat OCD. This type of therapy works especially well when it is combined with medication. Your therapist may suggest cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) to help with your OCD. Exposure and response prevention (ERP) is a type of CBT that works well for OCD.

Can OCD go away with age? ›

Obsessive-compulsive symptoms generally wax and wane over time. Because of this, many individuals diagnosed with OCD may suspect that their OCD comes and goes or even goes away—only to return. However, as mentioned above, obsessive-compulsive traits never truly go away. Instead, they require ongoing management.

Does OCD go away if you ignore it? ›

Obsessive-compulsive disorder is a chronic condition. This means it won't fix itself and is generally not cured completely. So to the first question: OCD does not go away on its own, without treatment.

Why can't I stop my intrusive thoughts? ›

Less commonly, intrusive thoughts are related to an underlying mental health condition, like obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). These thoughts could also be a symptom of another health issue, such as: brain injury. dementia.

Is distraction good for OCD? ›

Focused distraction and acceptance were the more effective techniques for managing clinically significant intrusive thoughts. We discuss implications for the cognitive treatment for OCD.

Are intrusive thoughts ADHD? ›

Results show that in comparison to the control group, participants with ADHD experienced significantly higher ratings on all intrusive thoughts scales, and three worrisome thoughts scales. Our results suggest that worrisome intrusive thoughts are an important phenotypical expression of adults with ADHD.

How do you calm your brain for OCD? ›

  1. Manage your stress. Stress and anxiety can make OCD worse. ...
  2. Try a relaxation technique. Relaxation can help you look after your wellbeing when you are feeling stressed, anxious or busy. ...
  3. Try mindfulness. You might find that your CBT therapist includes some principles of mindfulness in your therapy.

Who is a famous person with OCD? ›

A longtime entertainer, host, and comedian, Howie Mandel is one of the most famous people with OCD and he has been incredibly open over the years about his struggle with the disorder.

Why is OCD so hard to overcome? ›

The bulk of the problems occurring within your OCD come from you. The main reason that compulsions seem so hard to stop is because you have rehearsed them so often that they have become very automatic habits that are easy to do without thinking. You get good at things you rehearse a lot.

Why does my brain get stuck on thoughts? ›

Intrusive thoughts can be a symptom of other mental illnesses, too, including depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, bipolar disorder, substance use disorder and even burnout or chronic stress, therapist Kristin Erskine said.

What is the best medication for obsessive thoughts? ›

Medications
  • Clomipramine (Anafranil) for adults and children 10 years and older.
  • Fluoxetine (Prozac) for adults and children 7 years and older.
  • Fluvoxamine for adults and children 8 years and older.
  • Paroxetine (Paxil, Pexeva) for adults only.
  • Sertraline (Zoloft) for adults and children 6 years and older.
11 Mar 2020

Why do I create negative scenarios in my head? ›

Catastrophic thinking, also known as catastrophizing, is irrational thinking that may cause you to assume that adverse outcomes will occur. There are many potential causes for catastrophizing, such as anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and chronic pain.

How do you stop OCD thoughts naturally? ›

6 Best Strategies to Combat Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
  1. Practice mindfulness to manage stress. Two key characteristics of OCD are high anxiety and the presence of intrusive thoughts. ...
  2. Get plenty of exercise. ...
  3. Sleep well and enough. ...
  4. Avoid nicotine and alcohol. ...
  5. Reach out to family and friends. ...
  6. Find an ERP therapist.
7 Jan 2021

How do you ignore OCD compulsions? ›

How to Stop Your OCD Compulsions
  1. Practice 1: Postpone Ritualizing to a Specific Later Time.
  2. Practice 3: Change Some Aspect of Your Ritual.
  3. Practice 4: Add a Consequence to Your Ritual.
  4. Practice 5: Choose Not to Ritualize.

Does breathing help OCD? ›

The relaxation that comes with deep breathing will kick in after a minute or two, but keep going for five, 10 or even 20 minutes for maximum benefits. During belly breathing, we experience a reduced heart rate, lowered blood pressure and more efficient breathing, each of which promotes a state of calm and relaxation.

Do people with ADHD obsess? ›

Obsessing and ruminating are often part of living with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). No matter how hard you try to ignore them, those negative thoughts just keep coming back, replaying themselves in an infinite loop. You know it's not healthy, but you can't seem to stop yourself. It makes sense.

Does Adderall help with obsessive thoughts? ›

Adderall may benefit those living with OCD since it increases productivity, memory, and concentration. Many people who face a tic disorder, involuntary, repetitive movements, and vocalizations will find that Adderall does not worsen their tics or create a lack of control over the body.

What are the signs of ADHD in female adults? ›

Symptoms and signs of ADHD in adult women can include:
  • Difficulty with time management.
  • Disorganization.
  • Feeling overwhelmed.
  • History of anxiety and depression.
  • Difficulty with money management.
18 Mar 2021

Videos

1. How to Deal With Intrusive Thoughts
(Mark Freeman)
2. The Cessation of Compulsive Thinking | Eckhart Tolle Teachings
(Eckhart Tolle)
3. How to Handle Intrusive Thoughts (Try this)
(Natasha Daniels)
4. A Neuroscientist Explains the Danger of Suppressing Your Emotions
(The Knowledge Project)
5. Dr. David Hanscom: Thought Suppression Fires Up The Nervous System
(David Hanscom)
6. OCD Treatment - How Do I Stop Intrusive Thoughts
(The OCD & Anxiety Show with Matt Codde LCSW)

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