Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Repetitive Behaviors

Many individuals seek treatment for repetitive habits they feel compelled to enact that have become problematic in their daily lives.

Many of our clients who otherwise perform at extremely high levels are held back by repetitive thoughts and behaviors.  These clients also begin to avoid situations and places where the OCD might get triggered by adding an entirely new layer of stress and complication. Employing cognitive behavioral strategies like exposure and response prevention we help our clients free themselves from the symptoms of OCD that continues to hold them back from realizing their potential.

Characteristics of OCD 

  • Obsessive thoughts and/or unwanted repetitive behaviors. Obsessions may include unwanted disturbing images or intrusive thoughts that the individual attempts to ignore or suppress with other thoughts or behaviors.
  • Obsessions may include, but not limited to, thoughts that the individual has hurt someone, fear of contamination, or unwanted sexual thoughts.
  • Repetitive behaviors/compulsions are conducted to eliminate intrusive thoughts. Examples of compulsive behaviors may include hand washing, checking, counting, repeating words, or praying. Rituals cause great discomfort in people and get in the way of their comfortable living.

Characteristics of repetitive behaviors 

  • Excessive nail biting, skin picking, eye blinking, hair pulling, hair twirling, body rocking, throat clearing, vocal or motor tics, and other nervous habits.
  • It may be time to treat a repetitive behavior when it interferes with daily activities or causes distress or bodily harm.

Effective Solutions

Problematic repetitive behaviors can be reduced if the individual wants the behaviors to stop and is highly motivated for treatment.

  • Individuals are taught new relaxation methods through mindfulness, muscle relaxation, breathing techniques, and Biofeedback.
  • Clients learn strategies to quiet disturbing thoughts and images such as graded exposure, mindfulness and cognitive coping techniques.
  • Clients learn to significantly reduce the rituals that take up so much of their time and energy using researched techniques like response prevention.
  • Referral for medication and/or consultation with your medical professional is sometimes an important aspect of treating OCD.
  • Cognitive therapy techniques can reduce nervous habits by teaching the individual helpful thought strategies to increase confidence, develop new perspectives, and decrease anxiety and boredom.
  • Behavior therapy techniques are used to significantly decrease repetitive behaviors. These may include keeping logs to become more aware of the behaviors, finding healthier alternative behaviors to replace the habit, and practicing new stress-relieving strategies.

Contact Behavior Therapy of New York to learn more about reducing your repetitive behaviors.