Blog Post

18 August 2017

How to Manage a Career When You Have OCD

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a serious mental health condition that can severely inhibit the lives of those it affects. The intrusive, distressing thoughts and compulsive acts caused by OCD can make it exceptionally challenging for afflicted individuals to successfully complete the demanding daily activities and responsibilities involved in their careers, particularly if their vocation involves high-stress working environments and harsh deadlines. However, while the negative symptoms of OCD may seem insurmountable at times, they can be effectively mitigated and managed by developing healthy coping strategies.

Family Psychiatry of North Jersey takes pride in providing individuals and families with all of the resources and knowledge they need to overcome mental distress and achieve outstanding behavioral health solutions. We also understand full well how hard it is to thrive in your career while grappling with a mental health issue like OCD. Today, we’ll be providing you with a quick and simple lesson on how to effectively manage your work life while coping with your OCD.

The Symptoms and Effects of OCD

According to Mayo Clinic, obsessive-compulsive disorder usually includes both obsessions and compulsions. These problematic tendencies are usually themed around specific subjects and fears, including:

  • Fear of contamination or dirt
  • Unwanted images of hurting yourself or someone else
  • Doubts that you’ve locked your home’s door
  • Stress when objects aren’t placed in an orderly fashion
  • Unpleasant sexual images and actions repeating in your min

These distressing subjects can cause people with OCD to develop obsessive behaviors and habits. For example, an intense fear of germs and bacteria might cause someone with OCD to wash their hands until their skin becomes raw. An obsessive-compulsive person who is fixated on orderliness or checking on things may feel strongly compelled to arrange all of their coworker’s writing utensils or office items in a specific, uniform order or proofread email drafts dozens of times before sending them off. Unsurprisingly, compulsions like these can make it much more difficult for employees with OCD to excel in the workplace and efficiently finish the tasks assigned to them. In extreme cases, OCD can even cause employees to develop an inability to attend work due to overwhelming anxiety and stress.

Coping & Working With OCD

Fortunately, there are a number of simple strategies and techniques you can use to cope with your OCD regardless of whether you work at home, on the road, in an office or anywhere else. The following coping methods will help to relieve your anxiety, keep your emotional balance and manage your compulsions and obsessions.

  1. Identify Your Key OCD Triggers

Your compulsions and obsessions have the greatest impact when they catch you off guard. By developing a solid understanding of the events or actions that trigger your OCD at work, you can brace yourself for their effects or rearrange your schedule to avoid them completely. For example, if you determine that your OCD makes you incredibly uncomfortable when you shake hands with others, you can start preparing for upcoming meetings or interviews by practicing relaxation techniques and developing a gameplan for how you’ll cope during the event. Remember, it’s always better to walk into a stressful event that you’re prepared for rather than being blindsided.

  1. Challenge Your Obsessive Thoughts and Worries

When left unchallenged, your OCD can have substantial influence over your perception of work events and situations. For example, obsessive-compulsive people who feel compulsions to perfect each document and message they write can cripple themselves by obsessing over the unrealistic concept that one small typo or error will have disastrous consequences.

The next time you feel your OCD trying to control your behavior at work, make an effort to contest those thoughts. Is it really that important to perfectly arrange all of the items at your desk? How dangerous or harmful will it really be to shake hands with your coworker or client? This exercise can help you to acquire a clearer and more objective understanding of the consequences of your actions and decisions, making it easier to see through the incessant, unrealistic worries that your OCD causes.

  1. Find Time to Exercise Regularly

Studies have shown that daily exercise is very effective at reducing fatigue and anxiety, improving concentration and enhancing cognitive function, making it a huge boon for workers who feel overwhelmed or need relief from stress. By taking a couple 10-minute walks each day, you can give yourself time to breathe and work through your obsessive thoughts and compulsions before acting on them.

When you’re about to engage in an activity that’s likely to trigger your OCD, walk out of your workplace for a few minutes to collect yourself and contest any anxious thoughts you have. Even if you can’t leave your office, you should still be able to walk around the building for a few minutes and clear your head. Feel free to incorporate pushups, jumping jacks or any other workout activity into this routine if your work environment allows it.

  1. Seek Professional Help

The best and most effective way to pin down your OCD triggers and manage your condition is to seek aid from a professional psychiatrist. These mental health professionals can work with you to develop personalized coping strategies, therapy sessions and medication regimens in a nurturing, clean and confidential environment.

Here at Family Psychiatry of North Jersey, our expert team of psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers and counselors is fully committed to helping children, adolescents, adults and families suffering from the adverse effects of OCD by offering unrivaled service and support. Regardless of which compulsions or obsessions you struggle with, we’ll stop at nothing to help you with managing your condition and regaining control over your life.

Make an Appointment With Family Psychiatry of North Jersey Today

If you’re interested in setting up an appointment with Family Psychiatry of North Jersey or want to learn more about what we can do to assist you with your OCD, then don’t hesitate to call or message us today. We’d love to help.