Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  

Sharing Ideas For Stopping Carrying Out Compulsions

Recommended Posts

It will be helpful for those who aren’t familiar with how OCD operates,  how we can slip into resultant compulsive behaviour, and what constitutes compulsions, to first go to the main OCD-UK website, www.ocd-uk.org and learn about this from the excellent information to be found there.

We feel the urge to carry out compulsions in order to "fix” the disorder that we feel as a result of our obsessional thoughts and feelings. But doing this is no fix at all – carrying out compulsions only gives meaning to the obsessional thought, connects you to it; and any resultant decrease in anxiety is only temporary, and the obsessional thought is still in place and likely has been strengthened.

So how can we stop carrying out obsessions, when the urge to do so is so powerful as to the belief that doing so will help rather than hinder?

1). Belief

We have to believe what informed people – therapists and knowledgeable other sufferers – are telling us, not what our own brain, under influence from the OCD, is telling us. They know, and will tell us, what we should be doing. And what we should be doing is changing our thinking and behavioural response to the intrusive thoughts.

If OCD is telling us to avoid something, such as the news or a particular location about which we are having obsessional thoughts along an OCD theme, then our response needs to be working towards breaking that “rule” it is trying to force upon us. Going to that place, reading or watching the news, not taking an alternative route around the feared place,  not refusing to jump on the number 11 bus or whatever.

 If we feel the urge to research, e.g.  to try and prove certainty that what we are experiencing is OCD and not factual, we need to be working towards resisting that urge. One way to do this is a gradual weaning process – delaying complying with the urge for a set period, then looking to further delay it.

If we give in to the urge, we need to look at that as not a defeat, not a crisis, but just a blip – then carry on with the process.

2. Distraction

When we experience an intrusion, let’s take a break, a little time out, then gently but firmly shift our focus away. It’s particularly helpful here if we have learned about the cognitive side of cognitive behavioural therapy and can spot that the intrusion is as a result of OCD thinking – this will centre around a excessive repetitive thinking around a negative core belief which is false, an exaggeration of nil or minimum threat, or revulsion.

If we have that knowledge, then we can label the intrusion as OCD (I was taught in CBT to see it as “only my silly obsession” which helps to take the sting and power out if it {to non-sufferers our obsessional intrusive thoughts are just silly worthless nonsense}). Then we need to gently but firmly ease our mental focus away to something involved and beneficial – but preferably what we were doing before the intrusion occurred. Throw ourselves into this worthwhile useful mode of thinking, and if the OCD keeps dragging us back to the intrusion, or trying to, let’s keep practising the refocus.

Gradually the pull of the OCD, and the urge to compulse, should start to recede – though initially this will seem like a tug of war, a battle royal.  

3. Exposure And Response Prevention (ERP)

This is an important element of cognitive behavioural therapy, and enables us to approach our OCD fears in a structured way, and without resorting to the carrying out of compulsions.

There is plenty of guidance on the forums in how to carry out exposure and response prevention – this can be found by using the search field top right of your screen.


Please share any additional ideas that work for you.


Some previous threads:



And here is PolarBear's excellent video on how to stop the compulsion of ruminating:




Edited by taurean

Share this post

Link to post

Glad you like it Hadenough :)

Just reading through those old threads again, I realised just how much sharing information helps :thumbup:

The previous content of the forums really is a treasure trove of information. The key is, after the first search results, to restrict the search options and this will radically reduce the search results so it's easier to find relevant threads. 


Edited by taurean

Share this post

Link to post

What a great tip! Thanks! 

I’ve particularly been looking for advice re stopping compulsions lately so this post was perfectly timed for me :thumbup:

Share this post

Link to post

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

  • Create New...