Managing OCD during COVID-19

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Possible challenges they face

  • The pandemic can be challenging for people living with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) as it can add to their fears and distress. Obsessive thoughts, such as guilt of being unable to take care of their family, and compulsive behaviours, like washing hands repeatedly or hoarding essential goods, which may have stemmed from their concerns over hygiene and safety, can significantly affect their daily lives.

Managing symptoms

  • Focus on managing compulsions. Discuss with friends and family on how they can help you, and plan ahead on what to do when it happens.
  • Relaxation, breathing and mindfulness exercise. Although practising these exercises will not get rid of all obsessive thoughts, it can help to distract you from your thoughts and ease some of your distress. Try to gain some distance from your obsessive thoughts by labelling them as thoughts e.g., “I am having the thought that…” and remembering that having a thought does not make it true.
  • Take care of your wellbeing. Exercise regularly, keep a healthy diet and get a good nights sleep. Taking care of your general wellbeing also better equips you to cope with stress.
  • Talk to someone about your OCD experience. Putting your experience into words can be difficult, however, sharing your experience not only helps them to understand your situation but also helps you to better cope with your thoughts.

How can friends and family help

  • Learn more about OCD
  • Plan together on how to manage compulsions.
  • Listen and try to understand their experience.


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