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Living with OCD in Florida: Strategies for Managing Intrusive Thoughts


Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a common mental health condition where people experience recurring and unwanted thoughts, sensations, or ideas. Those who struggle with OCD act out in compulsive ways to feel a sense of order and control.

OCD affects 1% to 3% of the global population, and it’s the fourth most common mental health disorder.

Often, those with OCD feel compelled to engage in repetitive actions like counting, handwashing, or repetitively checking on things. This compulsion dramatically impacts their ability to function in day-to-day situations.

If you’re struggling with OCD and anxiety or intrusive thoughts, it’s important to know you’re not alone. Elite DNA is here to help with compassionate, holistic, evidence-based treatment.

Here, we’ll explore some strategies to help manage OCD and intrusive thoughts.

Do you struggle with compulsions or intrusive thoughts and think you could benefit from OCD therapy in Florida? Find your nearest Elite DNA location and see how we can help!

The Truth About OCD

Popular culture often portrays people with OCD as overly neat or tidy. In reality, OCD can be truly debilitating.

Those struggling with OCD can’t ignore these intrusive thoughts or stop the rigid repetitive behaviors they adopt as a result. Suppose they can’t perform these tasks and behaviors when triggered. In that case, they may experience serious distress, and sometimes even believe dire consequences will happen to loved ones because they can’t perform these tasks.

Stressful situations can trigger OCD — or worsen existing compulsive behaviors.

Unfortunately, there’s no single definitive test to properly diagnose OCD. In OCD-suspected cases, your therapist may administer the Yale-Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale (Y–BOCS.). Y–BOCS consists of a 58-item checklist and 10 questions. It generates a score that can measure the likelihood that the take has OCD and the severity of any symptoms.

At Elite DNA, we offer treatment for OCD in Florida. Though treatment may not completely cure the condition, we can help those struggling with OCD manage compulsions and intrusive thoughts better, reduce the severity of symptoms, and restore balance to their daily lives.

Strategies for Managing Intrusive Thoughts


One of the best strategies is OCD therapy. Left untreated, intrusive thoughts from OCD can become overwhelming — and co-occurring disorders, such as depression and anxiety disorders, can develop.

At Elite DNA, we employ multiple evidence-based treatments. The most successful treatments usually involve a combination of modalities.

Tailored treatment plans may include Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), which gradually exposes patients to compulsion triggers in a safe environment. Therapists can help patients cope with OCD by facing intrusive thoughts in these exposures.

In some cases, Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) is used alongside CBT. ERP therapy involves gradually exposing patients to feared objects or situations while preventing them from performing their compulsions. This repeated exposure allows patients to learn that their anxieties will eventually subside without needing to perform compulsions. Over time, the compulsions may become less reinforcing as the fear response lessens.

A therapist may also use Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), which helps patients accept intrusive thoughts as intangible ideas, not immutable truths that must be acted upon.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) may also be used alongside other therapies. DBT helps manage emotional distress and the compulsive urges that accompany intrusive thoughts.

In some cases, OCD medication may be recommended.

Mindfulness Practices

Mindfulness is a collection of practices similar to meditation. They’re very effective for stress management, and stress can be a major trigger for intrusive thoughts.

They’re designed to reduce intrusive thoughts and refocus your attention on physical sensations and your environment. They can be very helpful in managing intrusive thoughts, especially when practiced regularly.

Two common mindfulness practices are breathing meditations and body scans.

A simple breathing meditation begins by sitting comfortably on a chair or the floor. Begin by taking several deep breaths, inhaling through the nose, and exhaling through the mouth. Let your eyes close and breathe at a normal pace through your nose. Start to notice your breathing patterns. Are the breaths short or long? Do they vary from breath to breath? Notice the physical sensations of breathing, like the rise and fall of your chest as you inhale and exhale. Your mind will wander from time to time during this exercise – that’s completely normal. When you notice your thoughts wandering, simply make a note of it without judging it as good or bad. Then return your focus to the physical experience of breathing.

Body scans begin the same way. Sit comfortably on a chair or the floor, and take a few deep breaths, in through the nose and out through the mouth. Let your eyes close and breathe normally through your nose. Start scanning slowly down through your body, starting at the top of your head. Notice where you feel tension, or where you feel relaxed. Notice if there’s a feeling of stillness in the body or a feeling of anxiousness. Scan slowly down, noticing how different areas of your body feel, without judging the sensation or trying to correct it. When your mind wanders, simply notice it, and return your attention to the body.

Start by trying these exercises for between five and 20 minutes. You may find one more effective for you, or more enjoyable. You may also enjoy both, finding that the different exercises work better for you at different times.

There are several mobile apps available that guide you through these and other mindfulness practices. Most of these have built-in timers, and many have free options you can use without subscribing.


As simple as it sounds, journaling can be a powerful tool to help manage intrusive thoughts. Putting your thoughts down on paper turns them into something external, something that exists outside of you. This makes them easier to observe and evaluate. It also provides a record of how your thoughts progress and change over time.

You can use whatever writing software you prefer. Many find the sensation of writing in a physical notebook helpful and almost meditative. Try setting aside 10 to 30 minutes each day to sit somewhere by yourself and write down your thoughts.

Progressive Muscle Relaxation

Relaxing the body can help calm the mind, reduce stress, and lessen the impact of intrusive thoughts. One technique to reduce tension in the body is progressive muscle relaxation.

Lay down on your bed or someplace else comfortable and quiet. Close your eyes and feel your weight sinking into the bed. Start by tensing the muscles in your feet. It should feel tight, but not painful. Count to five, then exhale and let go of all the tension. Take a few breaths and repeat with the lower legs. Continue tensing and releasing as you progress upward through the body, into the neck, jaw, and facial muscles.

As you lie there, keep your eyes closed and notice how your muscles feel after the exercise. And notice how much stress you feel compared to when you began the exercise.

Improve Sleep Quality

Sleep is essential for mental health. Getting  – seven to eight hours of quality sleep each night can reduce the frequency and intensity of intrusive thoughts. A lack of sleep impairs cognitive flexibility, making it more difficult to shift thinking patterns and perspectives away from compulsive thoughts. With proper rest, our brains can regulate emotions and stress hormones better. This makes it easier to cope with the intrusive thoughts and compulsions associated with OCD.

There are several ways you can increase the quality and quantity of sleep.

You can try one of the mindfulness or progressive relaxation exercises described above before turning out the lights. These can make falling asleep easier and faster and increase the quality of sleep.

Turn off TV screens and put away the phone an hour before bed. The light emitted by screens can have a disruptive effect on sleep.

Try going to bed at the same time every night and waking up at the same time every morning. Regular sleep patterns often improve sleep quality.

Try to minimize the amount of light that enters your bedroom. You might even try falling asleep to calming sounds like rain, a waterfall, or the ocean. Many people find that sounds like this help them fall asleep faster. There are many free resources available for sleep sounds if you’d like to try them.

Improve Diet

Highly processed and sugary foods can affect our moods and energy levels. They can cause blood sugar spikes and crashes. And cause digestive issues. Both of these can raise anxiety levels, making it more difficult to manage intrusive thoughts and compulsions.

In addition, diets deficient in vitamin B, magnesium, and omega-3 fatty acids, have been linked to anxiety and mood disorders, which can exacerbate OCD symptoms.

Incorporating more whole foods, fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins can increase energy, provide helpful vitamins and minerals, and improve your mood.

You can still enjoy your favorite foods. We’ve all experienced the therapeutic effect of a pint of Rocky Road. Just indulge in moderation.

Increase Exercise

As we mentioned before, our physical health has a big impact on our mental health.

Exercise, even in moderate amounts, does wonderful things for our bodies and minds. It increases oxygen flow throughout the body and encourages the production of helpful neurotransmitters like dopamine, endorphins, and serotonin. These natural mood-lifters reduce anxiety and make it easier to resist compulsive thoughts from OCD.

Exercise doesn’t need to be intense to help manage intrusive thoughts. If you’re not already exercising, try adding an easy 10-minute walk each day. If you’re already exercising regularly, try increasing the intensity slightly once a week.

Try writing down how you feel afterward, and the effect it has in helping with intrusive thoughts. If you’re keeping a journal, this is a great thing to write down and review over time.

Elite DNA: OCD Treatment in Florida

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is not uncommon, but it can be difficult to manage. And OCD symptoms can feel overwhelming and debilitating.

If you’d like to explore professional treatment for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, please contact us.

Elite DNA offers treatment for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, depression, anxiety disorders, and co-occurring disorders. Through individual therapy, psychiatry, medication management, and new coping skills we can help you regain control of your life, even with treatment-resistant OCD.

Elite DNA tailors therapy to each individual using multiple modalities. Using modalities such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP), you and your therapist will work together to find the most effective ways to manage and minimize your symptoms.

No one should face mental illness alone. With locations across Florida and multiple treatment options, we’re here to support your mental health and treatment goals.

Find your balance and get the best treatment for OCD and related disorders. Get started with Elite DNA today!

*The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images, and other material contained on this website is for informational purposes only. No material on this site is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

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