Learning how to manage OCD requires understanding its triggers. So what causes OCD to get worse? Read here for more information.

What Causes OCD to Get Worse? A Mental Health Guide

You may have heard of obsessive-compulsive disorder, but you might not be familiar with its signs and symptoms.

Many people only know OCD as the source of a good number of jokes, so they tend to ignore the signs. If left untreated, it can be detrimental to your social life, career, and mental state.

If you’re concerned that it might be affecting your life, you should seek help. OCD can get worse if you don’t address it.

But you might be wondering, “What causes OCD to get worse?” Below, we’ve provided a guide to answer all your questions about worsening OCD. Read along to learn more!


Not Getting Treatment

When treatment is not sought out, it leaves the person feeling vulnerable and completely out of control. Anxiety and fear can become even more intense, and intrusive thoughts can become stronger. 

This can then create a cycle in which symptoms will just worsen and it can be harder to break away from whatever is causing the distress. If the appropriate treatment is not obtained, OCD can quickly become overwhelming as opposed to manageable and can lead to trichotillomania. With appropriate treatment, yet, OCD can be managed and with the right approach, one can be able to cope better with daily life.

Poor Sleep Habits

When individuals don’t get enough hours of quality restful sleep, their anxiety levels can spike and their symptoms can become more severe and intrusive. Sleep also plays an important role in cognitive behavioral therapy, as it can help reduce intrusive thoughts and improve a person’s ability to resist compulsions.

Without enough sleep, these OCD treatments may not have as strong of an effect. Poor quality sleep has been linked to disruptions in neurotransmitters, which can worsen OCD. It is important for individuals with OCD to practice healthy sleep habits that can help them manage their symptoms and cope with their disorder.

Poor Self-Care

Self-care is important for mental health because it helps individuals manage the symptoms of their condition. When a person does not take the necessary steps to care for oneself, it can worsen OCD symptoms. It can be difficult to focus on activities like work and school when symptoms are out of control.

Additionally, when individuals neglect to practice healthy habits such as exercise, good nutrition, and adequate sleep, it can lead to feelings of depression and anxiety, which can ultimately exacerbate OCD. To control and manage OCD symptoms, it is very important to practice good SelfCare.

Ignoring Intrusive Thoughts

Intrusive thoughts are unwanted, repetitive, and often distressing thoughts that can cause OCD to get worse. When these thoughts occur, people with OCD may try to ignore them or push them away, hoping they will go away. This can actually make obsessive compulsive disorder worse by reinforcing the fear that they can’t control their thoughts.

When people with OCD don’t understand or acknowledge these intrusive thoughts, it can lead to increased distress and anxiety. Avoiding these thoughts can also lead to more anxiety, as people may worry that the thoughts mean something bad about themselves. That said, it’s important to remember that intrusive thoughts are very common and do not mean that someone is a bad person.

Getting a Trauma

These events, such as abuse, neglect, or loss, can leave a person feeling emotionally raw and unable to process their emotions. This can lead to obsessive thoughts and fears that become overwhelming. OCD can become worse if the person is unable to process or move past their trauma, as they may replay these events in their head constantly.

Furthermore, experiencing intrusive thoughts or vivid memories can cause feelings of shame and guilt which can further contribute to OCD symptoms. This can interfere with a person’s ability to lead a healthy life and can perpetuate their OCD. Treatment through therapy can help a person to process and heal from the trauma, which can help to lessen OCD symptoms.

Not Having any Support

All these can lead to OCD symptoms worsening or becoming more severe. Having an inadequate support system can lead to a feeling of isolation as well as a lack of understanding of what is going on with someone’s mental health.

Poor support networks could lead to a person with OCD not feeling comfortable opening up to anyone or not receiving the proper help that they need. This could lead to OCD worsening which can lead to further mental health complications. When an individual does not have the support or treatment needed, it can be difficult to manage their symptoms and get the help that they need. 

No Exercise

People with OCD are already in a heightened state of anxiety and fear, so failure to exercise can further heighten their symptoms. It can make them feel even more helpless and out of control. 

Without exercise, it can be hard to manage the symptoms and break the cycle of fear and obsessive-compulsive thoughts. Exercise can also help to improve physical health, which can help to make a person feel more in control and calmer. Thus, no exercise can be detrimental to those with OCD and should be avoided so as not to worsen their symptoms.

Learn What Causes OCD to Get Worse Today

OCD is a long-term condition, but with the right treatments, it is possible to better manage it. It is important to take positive steps to cope with OCD, such as seeking professional advice and exploring relaxation techniques.

Knowing what causes OCD to get worse, managing triggers, and creating a support network are all great steps in managing the symptoms. If you, or someone you know, needs help, reach out and get professional advice.

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