OCD Relapse

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OCD Relapse: How to Deal with OCD Symptoms When They Come Back 

It’s not unusual for people with OCD to experience a relapse after doing well for a while. When this happens, it can be scary and confusing. It’s important to remember that a relapse is not a sign of failure and that you can get through it. In this blog post, we will discuss the symptoms of OCD relapse and offer some tips for dealing with them. 

OCD and Relapse

If you’re dealing with OCD, you may have noticed that your symptoms come and go in waves. And while it can be tempting to think of this as a sign that you’re getting better, the reality is that these periods of remission often end up with a relapse. 

Relapse is a return of symptoms after a period of improvement. For many people with OCD, Relapse is a normal part of the recovery process. Estimates show that nearly 50% of people with OCD will experience at least one Relapse in their lifetime. 

Several factors can contribute to Relapse, including stress, life transitions, and medication changes. But no matter what the trigger may be, it’s important to remember that Relapse is not a sign of failure. 

What causes OCD Relapse

There is no one answer to this question, as each person’s experience with OCD is unique. However, some common causes of OCD relapse may apply to you. One possible cause of OCD relapse is that you have forgotten to take your medication as prescribed. 

Suppose you notice that your OCD symptoms have returned shortly after starting a new medication regimen, be sure to speak with your doctor about whether you are taking the correct dosage. In that case, many people can feel an increase in OCD symptoms when starting or changing a medication. You can read more about it here: Can antidepressants make your OCD worse?

Another potential cause of OCD relapse is stress. Keeping your obsessive thoughts at bay can be challenging when you’re feeling overwhelmed by life’s challenges. In these situations, it’s crucial to find ways to manage your stress levels so that they don’t contribute to a relapse. 

Finally, a common cause of OCD relapse might be boredom. If you’ve been feeling stagnant or unchallenged in your life, your OCD may start to take over as a way of seeking excitement. Therefore, it’s essential to find new and exciting activities to keep yourself occupied and engaged.  

What to do when OCD Relapse

OCD relapse can feel like a never-ending cycle. When you’re amid a relapse, it feels like OCD symptoms will never go away again. However, you can manage your OCD symptoms and get back to living your life with the right tools and strategies. Therefore, here are a few tips for coping with OCD relapse: 

  • It would help if you realized that relapses are normal. It’s important to remember that relapses are typical and expected. Even people who have successfully managed OCD symptoms will experience occasional relapses. This fact doesn’t mean that your treatment has failed – it just means that you need to adjust your treatment plan to account for these setbacks. 
  • Do not fight OCD symptoms on your own. When you’re experiencing a relapse, it’s essential to seek help from a therapist or support group. Trying to fight OCD symptoms on your own can be difficult and frustrating, leading to further setbacks. By seeking professional help, you’ll have access to the tools and strategies you need to manage your OCD symptoms. 
  • It would be best if you tried to be patient with yourself. It’s essential to be patient and forgiving with yourself during a relapse. This condition is not that easily manageable, so don’t expect perfection from yourself. Remember that relapses are normal – there is no shame in them. Just keep moving forward, one day at a time.
  • Be active and engaged in your life. As mentioned earlier, boredom can lead to OCD relapse. To avoid this, make sure you are actively engaged in your life. Find new hobbies, take on new projects, and challenge yourself mentally and physically. By staying active and engaged, you’ll be less likely to fall back into the clutches of OCD.

How to prevent OCD Relapse

There is no one definitive answer to this question, as relapse prevention will vary from person to person. However, some general information may be helpful for those struggling with OCD symptoms. 

Firstly, it is vital to identify and understand your triggers. Once you know what these are, you can develop strategies to manage them. For example, if exposure and response prevention (ERP) therapy has successfully reduced your OCD symptoms in the past, you can use it again to help prevent a relapse.

Another critical strategy for preventing OCD relapse is maintaining healthy lifestyle habits. These habits include getting enough sleep, eating a balanced diet, and exercising regularly. When you feel stressed or overwhelmed, it can be easy to let your healthy habits slip. However, by making this health and wellness a priority, you can help reduce the risk of Relapse. 

Finally, it is crucial to have a support circle in place. This circle includes friends and family members who understand what you are going through and mental health professionals who can offer guidance and support. When you feel like you are struggling alone, having a supportive network can make all the difference.  

How to recover from OCD Relapse

The main thing is to understand why your OCD symptoms have resurfaced. Relapse can be a consequence of many things, including stress, anxiety, lack of sleep, or changes in medication. Once you know what triggered your Relapse, you can work on addressing those issues head-on. 

In addition to addressing the triggers, there are other things you can do to help manage your OCD symptoms during a relapse. One is to keep a symptom journal, in which you track your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Thus, maintaining a journal can help you see patterns and identify potential triggers. 

You can also use coping strategies that have worked for you in the past, such as relaxation techniques or acceptance and commitment therapy.

Above all, don’t be hard on yourself. Relapse is a part of the OCD journey, and it doesn’t mean that you’ve failed or that you’re doomed to suffer from OCD forever. You can overcome this setback and continue working towards remission with time and patience. 

A final word on OCD Relapse

Relapse is a normal and expected part of the OCD journey. While it can be challenging to deal with, there are things you can do to manage your symptoms and prevent further setbacks. By understanding your triggers and maintaining healthy habits, you can reduce the risk of Relapse. If you experience a relapse, don’t be discouraged – just keep moving forward, one day at a time.

You are always welcome to join our OCD community for support and advice. I hope this article was helpful and that you find the strength to keep fighting. OCD is beatable, and if you have beat it before, you can do it again, keep moving forward, and eventually find remission.

Thank you for reading.

Notable Replies

  1. I intuitively try to maintain healthy lifestyle habits as suggested in the article. For now, I have not experienced extreme anxiety-like symptoms like those before treatment, which means that I probably haven’t experienced an OCD relapse.

  2. You are a great example that self-care and living more naturally lead to incredible results. It took me a long time to implement the necessary changes in my routine until I started to feel consistently good. It was mainly a struggle with moving more and limiting my sedentary time.

  3. When I feel anxious and worried, I close myself inside and stay by myself until it passes. Through the years, I noted that no matter my lifestyle, there are always those moments when the anxiety hits at some point, and that’s it.

  4. I feel like you, but I also found out that going out to have coffee with a good friend or just by myself makes me feel better. The point is to get up and treat yourself to what makes you usually happy.

  5. Creating good vibes and treating yourself well is an excellent approach for fixing anxiety, at least in the short term. I find it better than closing myself and waiting until I feel good again. I noticed that by staying inside by myself, time passes very slowly while my mind is in all directions.

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