Stress and OCD

Posted by Phil Cardenas on Feb 20, 2014

Can everyday stress cause OCD? No, but OCD is an anxiety disorder, and stress can add anxiety that contributes to the severity of diagnosed OCD.

Stress is bad for your health. It is implicated in life-threatening conditions as well as a host of other problems from nail-biting to hair loss. A study in the British Medical Journal suggests that even low-level stress can increase the risk of heart attacks and stroke by 20%.

The anxiety produced by obsessive thoughts and behavior add to the stress of everyday life.
Beyond the harm stress causes anyone, its effects can be even more harmful to persons with OCD. That makes it even more important for OCD sufferers to keep their lives as stress-free as possible.

No one can live a life completely free of stress. In fact, small levels of stress are shown to help you stay focused, energetic and alert. When stress becomes overwhelming, it can damage both your mental and physical health. When stress is layered on top of an anxiety disorder such as OCD, its negative effects can become magnified.

The best way to manage stress is to understand the signs of impending stress, they can include:

  • Memory problems
  • Constant worry
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Change in eating habits
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Moodiness
  • Feeling lonely or isolated
  • Change in sleep pattern
  • Anxious thoughts
  • Inability to relax
  • General unhappiness
  • Withdrawing socially

Getting regular exercise, eating a nutritious diet and getting adequate sleep are all important steps in managing stress. Accepting that there will be stress in your life is also an important piece of managing stress. A good sense of humor helps, too! You can learn more about dealing with stress on the Anxiety and Depression Association of America’s website. They have a list of tips and suggestions for managing anxiety and stress.

One of the best ways to start your journey toward relief from OCD is to take an active role in your treatment. Managing stress is one of them. Beyond OCD is an organization devoted to better understanding of OCD, its diagnosis, and its treatment. Our web site has lots of information on the disorder, how to recognize it, and resources for additional information and treatment.

Beyond OCD is committed to offering OCD sufferers and their loved ones the latest information on the disorder as well as carefully chosen sources for treatment. To learn more about OCD and its treatment, visit our web site at BeyondOCD.org. It’s there to help you get the information you need to go beyond OCD.

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