Calming the Storm: Mindfulness and OCD
May 26, 2016

Mindfulness practice is becoming more popular as a treatment resource for various mental illnesses, but practicing mindfulness and OCD are rarely connected. Those struggling with OCD often have issues controlling their thoughts or quieting their minds, causing repetitive behaviors. This is where the connection between mindfulness and OCD is most strong. People practice mindfulness in order to gain control over their thoughts and become more aware of their actions.

How mindfulness and OCD are related

The National Institute of Mental Health defines Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) as a “chronic and long-lasting disorder in which a person has uncontrollable, reoccuring thoughts (obsessions) and behaviors (compulsions) that he or she feels the urge to repeat over and over.”

OCD isn’t uncommon. There’s thought to be roughly 2.2 million Americans dealing with OCD. Medication and psychotherapy are usually used to treat this disorder, but as mindfulness becomes further researched, a connection between mindfulness and OCD has been revealed.

The most used mindfulness practice is mindfulness meditation. This is sitting comfortably (for example, in a nice armchair) in a quiet place, bringing your attention to your breath and the present moment. Various studies have confirmed that this type of treatment helps those dealing with depression, anxiety, and other psychological issues; a few’s focus was specifically about how mindfulness practice can improve OCD symptoms.

How it works

After delving into OCD symptoms, it’s fairly easy to see the connection between mindfulness and OCD. OCD is often considered related to anxiety disorder (for a while it was an actual anxiety disorder in DSM) because many people’s OCD is rooted in anxiety. Anxiety makes it difficult to have control over your thoughts, giving them more influence over your actions than they should.

Those struggling with OCD have a terrible time trying to maintain control over certain thoughts, therefore leading to compulsive behaviors, such as compulsively cleaning.Practicing mindfulness allows someone to recognize a thought and let go of it instead of letting it overwhelm them. Being able to identify harmful thoughts and triggers gives a person a stronger sense of control, making it easier for them to build a wall between what they think and what they do.
If you believe your son or daughter is struggling with OCD, it’s important to reach out to gain professional guidance in order to give your child the best chance at moving forward.

Source: Asheville Academy for Girls

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