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Dr. Patrick McGrath’s Blog

Know the Four Rules of OCD

    Rule number 1: OCD lies to you.
    Remember this phrase and you will do well. In all of the years that we have been treating OCD we have never once found it to tell the truth. OCD tells you that it is telling the truth, but that is also a lie.

    If OCD were telling the truth, then you have to consider why it tells you that you need to do things that people without OCD do not need to do? If OCD were to tell you the truth, then it would tell you to act like everyone else does since most everyone else is able to live their lives successfully without OCD.

    Rule number 2: OCD does not help you.
    Many people have said to me that they would not have survived college or done well in jobs or other areas without a little OCD. First of all, no one has a little OCD – you either have it or you don’t. So, if you did well in college or on a job then take credit for that – you did well because you had the skills to do well. If you do have OCD and you were able to do well in class or on a job then it was in spite of the fact that you have OCD that you were able to be successful, as OCD interferes in people’s lives more than it helps them.

    Rule number 3: OCD is not your friend.
    I know that you and your OCD talk to each other and at times it is the most powerful “voice” in your life. However, it is not your friend. Friends do not ask you to do things over and over again. Friends do not set goals for you to attain that are impossible to achieve, and friends surely do not punish you constantly for doing something wrong. So, OCD is not your friend, and you need to dump your OCD.

    Rule number 4: You can overcome your OCD.
    If you want help, our therapists here at ACI can assist you in challenging your OCD. WE WILL NOT CURE YOU. No one can be cured of OCD, and if a therapist tells you that they can cure you then they are lying. What we can do is teach you how to live with your OCD.

    Consider this – everyone in the world experiences intrusive thoughts. OCD is all about intrusive thoughts, but people with OCD believe the thoughts to be true or to mean something while people without OCD, WHO HAVE THE SAME THOUGHTS, blow them off and think that it was odd to have had such a thought.

    The lie (back to number 1) of OCD is that it tells you that you need to undo your thoughts when, in fact, all they are are thoughts and you need not do anything at all about having had a thought.

    So, come and work with our therapists so that we can show you how to challenge your OCD and you can learn to live with it and not be ruled by it.