The term “mindfulness” has been on the rise, but what does it mean in terms of mental health treatment? When it comes to treating obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), mindfulness-based therapy can create lasting benefits. Learn more about the different manifestations of OCD, mindfulness therapy, and how these methods can lead to OCD rehabilitation.
Different Presentations of OCD
OCD is a common anxiety disorder that can present itself in various ways, making each case unique. This disorder is often marked by compulsions, obsessions, or a combination of the two. Often, these compulsive behaviors and obsessive thoughts can become highly disruptive throughout a person’s daily life. This can lead to conflicts in relationships, work, and daily responsibilities.
Compulsions are defined as repetitive behaviors someone feels that they have to complete. While many people have habits or daily rituals, these compulsions differ in that a person cannot control them. Examples of these compulsive behaviors can include:
- Obsessive counting
- Repeated cleaning or washing hands
- The need for symmetry and organization
- Repeated checks (locks, etc.)
Meanwhile, obsessions are thoughts, urges, and mental images that lead to stress or anxiety. Obsessions or obsessive thoughts can revolve around anything. However, they often include germs, sex, religion, perfection, relationships, and more. Whatever these thoughts may be, they can lead to compulsive behaviors that a person feels ease these thoughts, at least momentarily.
What Is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is defined as being present and aware of the current moment, not thinking of the past, future, or any worries. When practicing mindfulness, individuals appreciate the present and understand that any negative thoughts that occur are manageable and don’t need to rule their behavior and life.
This way of thinking allows individuals to process their thoughts and emotions better while also analyzing why they may be occurring in the first place. Mindfulness has become widespread due to its effectiveness in relieving feelings of being overwhelmed, stressed, or anxious. It is also an excellent method to apply in the treatment of OCD.
Mindfulness Therapy in OCD Treatment
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is considered the main form of therapy for those dealing with OCD, as it targets disordered thinking and behaviors. However, adding mindfulness to CBT can make treatment more effective. In CBT, individuals will often be asked to become aware of their compulsions and understand the root of them to treat their OCD. Adding mindfulness means confronting these thoughts but as an observer with no requirement to act on these thoughts.
According to a study from BMC Psychiatry, individuals struggling with OCD who received mindfulness-based CBT found the treatment particularly effective. Approximately two-thirds of these individuals reported lowered OCD symptoms and an increased capacity to handle negative emotions.
Techniques Used for Mindfulness Therapy
There are various techniques used in mindfulness, one of which is meditation to alleviate negative thinking. Obsession is the state of being fixated in a person’s head and distracted by unwelcome thoughts. Additionally, there’s also an inability to experience these obsessions without acting on them with compulsive behaviors.
Meditation is an approach for cultivating the ability to recover from these thoughts. A person may focus on an anchor, like breathing, notice when their attention wanders, and gently bring themselves back to their anchor. This ability may be honed and used to confront intrusive thoughts without letting them dictate behavior.
Practicing intention is another mindfulness technique that can benefit OCD treatment. Any behavior and action are done with intention; this can be positive or negative. Most times, people aren’t even aware of their intentions when they act. Yet, with OCD, a person’s intentions could be led by intrusive thoughts and anxiety.
Individuals with OCD can practice recognizing their intentions and the thoughts that are leading to their behaviors. After some time, they can attempt to alter their intentions to positive ones that will lead to more productive and stable behaviors and not react to negative intentions. This is called “non-reacting,” or the ability to not respond to obsessive thoughts with compulsive behaviors.
Treating OCD at Avalon Malibu
At Avalon Malibu’s Grand House, clients can recover from OCD with our variety of therapy techniques that have been shown to be successful for OCD and any underlying difficulties. While at Avalon Malibu, individuals will be exposed to our combined 12-Step techniques as well as group and individual counseling.
Individual consultations are available at least three times each week. Meanwhile, our mental health experts also use various therapeutic techniques such as physical activity, expressive arts, and evidence-based psychotherapies such as mindfulness-based CBT to help our clients recover in a secure and supportive setting.
We work hard to help clients break old habits, let go of beliefs that no longer serve them, and heal previous traumas that may be the fundamental cause of their obsessive-compulsive disorder.
At Avalon Malibu, we believe that the problems we encounter do not define who we are. Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is no exception. You do not have to struggle with these disruptive, unpleasant, and incapacitating symptoms any longer. We can assist you or a loved one in healing their mental health and maintaining emotional wellness for the rest of their life. With a drive to healing your mental health and the compassionate support from our team, you can find the peace everyone deserves. The journey may be long, but it is worth it. Call Avalon Malibu today at (844) 857-5992 to learn more about our OCD treatment programs or to begin the admissions process.