How Mindfulness Exercises Help People with OCD

OCD Mindfulness

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, more popularly known as OCD, is an extremely common disorder. In fact, a report by BeyondOCD states that 1 out of 40 adults and 1 out of 100 children are diagnosed with the disorder in the US. This disorder is most commonly found in people between ages 15-44. For this, many experts suggest OCD mindfulness practice. 

So far, there has been no cure for the disorder. However, there has been some research about how mindfulness-based therapy helps curbs the disorder symptoms. Some of these mindfulness exercises include yoga, meditation, breathing, and more. So far, there are many benefits that OCD patients can get from this type of meditation therapy. This will be discussed in the article.

Can OCD Mindfulness Really Help?

Psychology would usually focus on the more traditional methods of cognitive therapy to treat the symptoms of OCD. Still, many studies backing up its effectiveness. One such study was made by Elisabeth Hertenstein and her team of researchers. The study tackled the effectiveness of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy. In the study, a group of 12 patients underwent an 8-week MBCT program wherein the patients underwent a series of mindfulness exercises.

The idea behind it was to see if the symptoms of OCD would drop gradually in case of mindfulness practice. Results of the study showed that meditation practice is actually effective in overcoming the disorder symptoms. 

The Shanghai Mental Health Center conducted one such study. This one is a clinical trial studying the effects of mindfulness vs. OCD.  Subsequently, it follows the psycho-education programs and administered drugs such as fluvoxamine and sertraline. This one studies 120 patients being administered the program. The patients will learn how to practice mindfulness with the program criteria. While there have been no results from the study yet, it shows potential to further back-up MBCT as a treatment method for OCD. The results ought to come out in December 2018.

6 OCD Mindfulness Benefits

Mindfulness is a state of mind wherein one is already experiencing all his or her senses, as well as emotions and can view them from a very objective point of view. Here are 6 benefits mindfulness can give to people who have OCD:

  • Mastery of the Mind

Regular people have around 70,000 thoughts altogether. A person who has OCD has many more thoughts per day, making them overload their conscious mind. Through learning how to practice OCD mindfulness, it is possible to contain those thoughts and keep them under wraps so that it won’t affect daily activity.

  • Lessens Anxiety Attacks

Having OCD actually leads to anxiety or very high levels of stress. By succeeding in meditation and other OCD mindfulness exercises, you’ll lessen the chances of an attack. That said, OCD meditation exercises may help lessen anxiety by calming the mind and unloading unnecessary thoughts stuck in the conscious.

  • Higher Self Awareness

Some patients who have OCD are sometimes not even aware of their actions. Most of them are but do not know exactly why they rationally behave the way they do. Through OCD meditation you’ll acquire higher self-awareness once again. 

  • Controls and Regulates Dopamine Levels

Dopamine is the hormone of happiness. According to one study, the brain of an OCD patient usually craves dopamine and does so by artificially pumping in dopamine to fill the void. This is the usual cause of the obsessive and compulsive behavior. With meditation, it is possible to control the void and bring in dopamine naturally.

  • Encourages Relaxation

With the natural amount of dopamine in a meditative state, one can be able to relax his brain. And it’s not just for the short term but regularly. What meditation does is, it taps into a steady reserve of dopamines. 

  • Helps with Emotional Control

Grey matter is the part of the brain that helps with emotional control. Research has shown that those who meditate have a high volume of grey matter. This helps them to have more control over their thoughts. Patients with OCD, on the other hand, have abnormal grey matter levels in their brain. This is why their behavior is completely different. With meditation, it is possible to improve those abnormal grey matter levels. Hence, a person will acquire more control over his or her emotions.

Conclusion

While OCD is a common medical disorder, research has shown that OCD mindfulness can also be very a helpful therapy. As one can see above, there are many benefits that patients can get from mindfulness meditation and MBCT therapy.

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