Obsessive compulsive disorder - OCD treatment and therapy from NOCD

10 Things Everyone With OCD Needs to Know

6 min read
Hannah Overbeek
By Hannah Overbeek

Whether you’ve recently been diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), are looking to learn more about it, or have been managing your symptoms for years, building your knowledge can be helpful at every stage of your journey. By understanding OCD and its symptoms, you can become better equipped to face any challenges you may encounter. To help you navigate the wealth of knowledge that’s available to you, we’re highlighting 10 things that everyone with OCD needs to know.

From practical tips for managing anxiety and challenging intrusive thoughts, to guidance on building a support network and fostering self-compassion, each of these lessons and reminders are on this list for a reason. Even if you’ve heard them before, we hope you can benefit from hearing them again.

1. No matter how disturbing, disgusting, or difficult you think your thoughts are, they don’t say anything about who you are as a person.

First, let’s talk about intrusive thoughts. We can’t emphasize this enough: no matter how horrifying the content of these thoughts may feel to you, you are not a bad person for having them. You’re not the only one who has them, either. It’s important to dispel this common shame around taboo obsessions so it doesn’t keep you from talking about them or seeking help. Read more →

2. Letting go of guilt and shame is freeing.

All too often, OCD makes people feel ashamed or guilty. If you’ve ever felt the pain of hiding your struggles, of pretending everything was fine, or of believing that you were somehow made less worthy by a mental health condition that you didn’t choose to have, it’s time to release those burdens. Read more →

Do these thoughts sound familiar? Learn how you can overcome them.

We know how overwhelming OCD symptoms can feel—especially when they lead to feelings of shame and guilt. You’re not on your own, and you can talk to a specialist who has experience treating OCD.

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3. When it comes to getting rid of anxiety, sometimes, the best thing to do is nothing at all.

When you feel uncomfortable, you may also feel like you have to do something about your emotions. This can create the urge to engage in compulsions. While these behaviors might be momentarily comforting, ultimately, they often backfire. The truth is that you don’t need to respond at all. By choosing not to, you allow uncertainty to exist. This can help you push back against OCD by serving as a reminder that every uncomfortable feeling will pass. Read more →

4. Trying to use logic often won’t work for OCD.

Have you ever tried to “logic” your way out of an intrusive thought? You may have found it to be a frustrating experience. Even when we have enough insight into our behavior to know that a fear might be irrational, we might not feel any better about it. There’s a reason for this—and a more helpful way to respond. Read more →

5. OCD can use realistic fears to play tricks on you.

Other times, the intrusive thoughts don’t seem irrational at all. They can feel incredibly likely, which makes them all the more distressing. OCD can take things that could happen and make it seem like they will happen, convincing you that fear is necessary. But that’s not the case. Read more →

6. Some compulsions are invisible, but they’re still debilitating.

You may be familiar with physical compulsions, but are you aware of mental ones? Because they tend to happen internally, compulsive behaviors like avoidance, distraction, and self-reassurance can go unnoticed, even though the distress they create can be severe. Given that these behaviors reinforce the OCD cycle, it’s important to identify and address both physical and mental compulsions. Read more →

7. Rumination won’t solve your problems—it’ll keep you stuck.

It might be one of the most subtle compulsions, but that only makes rumination all the more important to identify. Engaging with intrusive thoughts will always be a losing battle. Developing a better understanding of rumination can help you realize that it’s one you don’t have to fight. Read more →

8. Talk therapy can be ineffective for OCD.

Traditional talk therapy can have its merits in some situations, but in others, it may intensify OCD by having people analyze their thoughts and try to solve them. OCD is complex, and requires specialized treatment that accounts for its complexities. That’s why exposure and response prevention (ERP) therapy, which was designed specifically for OCD, stands out as the gold-standard. It’s been proven to be the most effective treatment for OCD. Read more →

9. Getting comfortable with discomfort will help you break the OCD cycle.

OCD can make us feel like discomfort is something to avoid at all costs, setting off the false alarm of anxiety even when there’s no threat. But avoiding discomfort only serves to reinforce OCD’s symptoms. By recognizing that discomfort isn’t inherently negative and that it can even serve a purpose, you can begin to overcome this aspect of OCD. Read more →

10. The impact of untreated OCD can be devastating, but with proper treatment, you can fight back and conquer it.

The cost of untreated OCD can go beyond financial implications. While the affordability of treatment is a common concern, without proper treatment, OCD can take a toll on everyday functioning, relationships, and overall quality of life. The benefits of seeking treatment far outweigh the potential costs. Read more →

Continue building your knowledge with expert support

Everywhere you turn, you can find opportunities to continue furthering your understanding of OCD. There is an expansive and diverse support network available to you, made up of people living with OCD, compassionate advocates, and experts who research and treat it. We’ve also shared some of our favorite OCD books, podcasts, Instagram accounts, educational resources, and online communities to help you explore it further.

But out of all these resources, it’s imperative to highlight the one that can be among the most helpful: the expertise of an OCD specialist. A qualified OCD specialist will have training in exposure and response prevention (ERP) therapy, the most effective treatment. At NOCD, our licensed therapists deeply understand all OCD themes and are specialty-trained in treating OCD with ERP.

We work side-by-side with the OCD experts and researchers who designed some of the world’s top OCD treatment programs to provide you with an ultra-personalized experience—because you deserve care that’s thoughtfully crafted to meet your unique needs. Our team will match you with a NOCD Therapist who respects your identity, beliefs, background, and experiences. Your therapist will use their expertise to help you set goals and achieve them, and the support won’t stop there.

We ensure that you’re supported between sessions, when it matters most, with therapist messaging, a peer community that’s available 24/7, a NOCD Member Advocate who deeply understands OCD, and dozens of free support groups.

If you’re struggling with OCD, know that it doesn’t have to be forever. We’re here to help you take the first step to regaining your life. You can book a free 15-minute call with us at any time. On your call, we can answer any questions you may have about NOCD Therapy and between-session support, share what you can expect from treatment, and help you get matched with a therapist to start your journey.

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NOCD Therapists specialize in treating OCD

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Taylor Newendorp

Taylor Newendorp

Network Clinical Training Director

I started as a therapist over 14 years ago, working in different mental health environments. Many people with OCD that weren't being treated for it crossed my path and weren't getting better. I decided that I wanted to help people with OCD, so I became an OCD therapist, and eventually, a clinical supervisor. I treated people using Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) and saw people get better day in and day out. I continue to use ERP because nothing is more effective in treating OCD.

Gary Vandalfsen

Gary Vandalfsen

Licensed Therapist, Psychologist

I’ve been practicing as a licensed therapist for over twenty five years. My main area of focus is OCD with specialized training in Exposure and Response Prevention therapy. I use ERP to treat people with all types of OCD themes, including aggressive, taboo, and a range of other unique types.

Madina Alam

Madina Alam

Director of Therapist Engagement

When I started treating OCD, I quickly realized how much this type of work means to me because I had to learn how to be okay with discomfort and uncertainty myself. I’ve been practicing as a licensed therapist since 2016. My graduate work is in mental health counseling, and I use Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) therapy because it’s the gold standard of OCD treatment.

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