OCD habits can be hard to break because they are deeply engrained habits that are normally based on deep seeded fears or obsessions. OCD habits often dominate the mind and control actions and behaviors in a way that surpasses normal habits. Some examples of OCD habits include compulsively washing hands or washing away germs, counting actions such as steps, hoarding certain objects, and compulsive checking on thing such as light switches or door locks. These compulsions give people suffering from OCD a sense of comfort in an otherwise seemingly scary environment. When feeling out of control, a person with OCD can always turn to their OCD compulsions to regain a sense of stability and control.
Because OCD habits are so deeply engrained in the psyche and life of a person suffering from OCD, breaking OCD habits needs to be handle delicately and slowly. People with OCD have unwanted and recurring thoughts that are called obsessions, and repetitive behaviors called compulsions. If you suffer from OCD, you may want to seek help if the obsessions and compulsions last longer than six months. You will need to recognize that there is a problem and actively seek help to break OCD habits. The best way to do this is to contact a medical professional who has experience dealing with people that suffer from OCD obsessions and compulsions.
There is no direct cure for OCD, as in you cannot go to a doctor and be suddenly and effortlessly healed of your OCD obsessions and compulsions. Instead, breaking OCD habits requires a lot of work and determination. Doctors can help by prescribing medications that will ease the side effects of OCD symptoms like anxiety, but the medication will not cure OCD habits. Therapists will work with you to get to the root cause of the OCD habit and help you break the habit. This is mainly done by discussing the causes of the OCD habit and forming new behaviors and thought processes to replace the obsessions and compulsions. The road to breaking OCD habits can be long and hard, but the results are worth it. Freeing yourself from OCD habits creates more time in your life for more constructive habits and hobbies, and also gives you the sense of freedom that you are living without being controlled by OCD.
In order to break OCD habits, it is almost always necessary to replace these habits with other habits instead of breaking the OCD habits cold turkey. Stopping OCD compulsions cold turkey can lead to panic and anxiety within people suffering from OCD because the habits are obsessive and repetitive unlike other, milder bad habits. You will need to develop new habits, either on your own or with the help of a therapist. These new habits will slowly begin to replace the OCD compulsions. Start by replacing the OCD habit only one or twice a day with the new habit and work your way up until you are replacing the OCD habit with the new habit almost every time the urge to complete an OCD compulsion arises. Diverting your attention away from the OCD habit with another, less obsessive habit will help you to retrain your mind to distance itself from OCD compulsions. New habits can be small and relatively meaningless, such as whistling, or larger and more constructive, such as knitting.
A good way to make sure that you stay on track with dealing with OCD habits is to either continue to see a therapist and discuss any issues or obstacles in conquering your OCD, or to join a self-help group. Both of these options provide outside support from people that either know about OCD or have had OCD themselves. Connecting with others outside of your normal circle of friends and family will open your eyes to OCD treatment and success stories while also helping you stay on track with breaking OCD habits.