These thoughts are often violent and disturbing, and for many people with OCD these are made even more terrifying since the violent thoughts are often directed towards their loved ones. By definition, these obsessive thoughts are very difficult to stop, and for some people with obsessive-compulsive disorder there is only one way they can find relief: compulsions.

Compulsions are the second component of OCD, and they are simply any physical behavior that someone feels compelled to perform. Some common compulsive behaviors include hand-washing, counting, hoarding, and repeated checking of things such as whether doors are locked and whether ovens are turned off. As was touched on earlier in this article, people with OCD often develop compulsions as a result of their obsessive thoughts. With those obsessive thoughts refusing to stop through any other means, the compulsive behaviors become a distraction technique, and performing them ultimately becomes the only effective way to stop them or lessen their debilitating effects. This vicious circle of obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors can quickly spiral out of control, with sufferers frequently coming to depend on the compulsive behaviors to keep severe anxiety and panic attacks away.

There is one treatment option for OCD that appears to have a much higher success rate than all other options, ans it's called exposure therapy. This is where someone intentionally exposes themselves to the thing that triggers their anxiety or obsessive thoughts, but instead of using compulsions to ease their discomfort as they normally would, they resist for a short time and only then allow themselves to perform the compulsion. The idea with this approach is to slowly increase the length of time until the compulsion can be performed. Eventually, for many people with OCD, this leads to a reduction in anxiety to the point that the compulsions no longer need to be relied upon, and if you've tried everything else you can think of to overcome obsessive-compulsive disorder then perhaps exposure therapy is something you should consider.

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