OCD, also known as obsessive-compulsive disorder, is a serious condition that millions of individuals are living with on a daily basis. Unfortunately, OCD is a serious mental health condition that does not discriminate. It will affect anyone of any age, shape, class or race.
It’s common for people with OCD to form intrusive thoughts, images, or even urges that eventually lead to distressing feelings and behaviors. It’s important to keep in mind that just because you experience obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors at some point in your life, doesn’t automatically mean you should be diagnosed with OCD intrusive thoughts.
People with this condition get overwhelmed with these obsessions and compulsions to the point where the symptoms become so extreme that they are uncontrollable.
In fact, most of the time these thoughts and compulsions will overcome the victim’s life and prevent them from completing daily activities. So, what are these thoughts and is there anything that someone can do to prevent them?
What Are Intrusive Thoughts?
An intrusive thought is a thought or image in your mind that is very undesirable. They not only cause stress, but they can be disturbing to the point where they cause extreme mental anguish. These thoughts are oftentimes referred to as compulsions.
When an individual develops these thoughts or images, they’ll do just about anything to stop them. It is important to remember that these are just thoughts, it does not mean you are a bad person just because you are having them.
That being said, there are a variety of thoughts and compulsions that one person can experience at any given time. And, to better understand them and learn how to control them, you need to learn more about them.
Types Of OCD Intrusive Thoughts
As you have already established, there are a variety of thoughts that you can experience at any given time. Just remember that every individual is different and some might experience some of these thoughts, while others will never experience them.
It’s important to note that if you find yourself having any of the thoughts below you should speak to someone about it immediately. Therapists can help you unpack the source behind your thoughts and work on overcoming them as well.
With that said, here are some of the most common types of OCD intrusive thoughts:
Sexual intrusive thoughts can include anything from violent sexual acts to inappropriate sexual acts with underage children or even animals. These thoughts might even have you questioning your sexual identity, which many individuals find extremely disturbing. These thoughts will usually even cause arousal, which makes the situation ten times worse.
Even if you don’t carry out the act and you get aroused, it does not necessarily mean that you are actually turned on by these acts. Getting aroused is just a normal physiological reaction that most everyone experiences throughout life.
Thoughts Regarding Children
There is nothing worse than causing physical or mental harm to a child. This is even more so true if the child is your son or daughter.
Many individuals with severe OCD intrusive thoughts are constantly worried about harming their children. In fact, they become so worried about their actions around their children that they just cannot be around them.
Unfortunately, without the proper help, these kinds of OCD intrusive thoughts have the ability to tear families apart.
Disturbing thoughts are the worry or belief that you are going to harm yourself or other people around you. Even though you may have never harmed anyone in your life or don’t plan on it, just the mere thought can be enough to drive you insane.
Whether it is physical, verbal, or mental harm, this is something that you want to avoid at all costs.
Disturbing Religious Thoughts
Who would want to have inappropriate sexual thoughts of a religious figure or person? No one would, so you can see how someone with these types of thoughts might drive themselves crazy worrying about them.
Just about everyone has fear of dying. However, a person with OCD is constantly worrying about dying. Whether they fear their heart will stop beating or they will be killed in a fatal car crash, the mere thought of death could be enough to drive them into a deep state of depression and anxiety.
How To Overcome Intrusive Thoughts Naturally
While some people who have intrusive thoughts believe there is no hope for a cure, this is just a huge misconception. Overcoming intrusive thoughts will not be easy, but it is a possibility.
One of the first things you will need to learn how to do is stay in control, which is hard to do when you feel like repetitive actions are necessary for survival.
Below is a list of techniques and recommendations that will help you overcome your intrusive thoughts and live a normal life.
Become Familiar With OCD Scare Tactics
OCD causes the brain to work overtime, forcing the victim to repeat specific actions (rituals) and thoughts (obsessions). People with OCD are unable to control these thoughts and actions, so they cannot live a normal life. One of the first things you will need to do to overcome your intrusive thoughts and actions is to learn the scare tactics that trigger them.
It’s important to note that not everyone with OCD has symptoms of compulsions and obsessions. However, some people have compulsive and obsessive symptoms that compromise their ability to have relationships, work and attend school.
OCD taunts the victim to no end, forcing you to act and think abnormally. Even though your brain forms these thoughts as messages, they are nothing more than thoughts. It is your condition that is forcing you to have these intrusive thoughts, which are very unhealthy.
Follow A Healthy Diet
By now, you probably know that eating healthy is essential to living a happy, healthy life. Yet, so many of us still eat junk and do not take care of ourselves.
Well, after you learn that an unhealthy diet can contribute to anxiety and intrusive thinking, you might just be willing to make the necessary changes.
How does eating unhealthy cause anxiety and bad thoughts?
Certain unhealthy foods increase inflammation, which in return alters certain structures of the brain and neurotransmitter functions. This eventually leads to mood swings, weight gain, and fatigue. All of these things can impact your blood sugar levels and lead to jitteriness or nervousness.
Foods with anti-inflammatory properties can greatly help combat this issue. Make sure that you are consuming the correct amounts of healthy fats, unrefined carbs, and proteins. Foods high in vitamin B, like wild-caught fish, poultry, and green leafy vegetables can also go long way in combating anxiety and nervousness.
Exercise is something that most people don’t do enough. Studies and research have shown the positive effects of exercise for years now, yet people just ignore them.
Exercising on a regular basis can help the brain manage a variety of stresses and fears. Along with this, it will boost your confidence and self-esteem.
Plus, exercise is completely free and something that you can do in the comfort of your own home.
You don’t need to run out and invest in expensive home gym equipment, such as a treadmill or weight set. You don’t even have to start out all that heavy. A quick jog or a few simple yoga exercises a day could make the major difference that you are looking for.
Exercise can also improve your sleep quality, lower inflammation and give you the sense of accomplishment.
Get at Least 7-8 Hours of Sleep
It shouldn’t be a big secret that sleep deprivation can have major negative effects on the body and mind. In fact, it increases anxiety and has been linked to a variety of other negative health conditions.
When you don’t get enough sleep or rest, it increases stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. These two hormones are highly known for impacting the brain chemistry.
Eventually, this will lead to ramping up parts of the brain that control worrying and ruminating. Ideally, you should aim to get anywhere from 7-9 hours of sleep each night. However, this doesn’t mean that just any amount of sleep will work.
You really need good uninterrupted sleep. Make sure that you are shutting off the TV, turning out the lights, or even utilizing an eye pillow if you have one. Read a good book before bedtime or do a few yoga stretches to get your body limber and in the mood to go to bed.
Stress management involves getting control of your stress. Not only does this require keeping a positive attitude, but also requires you to be assertive instead of aggressive.
Practicing relaxation techniques, such as yoga, meditations and tai chi will also help reduce your stress, resulting in fewer intrusive thoughts. There are also plenty of apps out there to help you out.
Keeping your mind busy will definitely go a long way in helping you take back your life from OCD intrusive thoughts.
Don’t Let Intrusive Thoughts Control Your Life
It might not seem like it right now, but OCD intrusive thoughts don’t have to control your life. The journey will be difficult, but with treatment from a professional and some of the techniques above, you can learn to overcome intrusive thoughts and live a normal life again.