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Does Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Ever Go Away?

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), one of your first questions may be, Does OCD ever go away?

One of the first steps in OCD treatment is helping patients understand that an obsessive-compulsive cognitive style generally doesn’t just go away. The stigma of having a disorder tends to color perception that these traits are maladaptive in all situations and settings. Obsessive-compulsive characteristics are productive, for instance, in highly detail-oriented professions. A better question to ask is, Can the life disruptions that obsessive-compulsive behaviors cause in my life go away?

The answer to that question is YES!

While the obsessive part of your personality may never go entirely away, the disorder aspect of compulsively reacting can be greatly improved and its impact on your life managed through proper treatment.

Obsessive-compulsive thoughts and impulses can fluctuate

Obsessive-compulsive symptoms generally eb and flow over time. Because of this, many people who are diagnosed with OCD suspect that their OCD comes and goes or even goes away—only to return. General life stress is often a contributing factor to the worsening of symptoms. The opposite is also true: during times of reduced life stress, symptoms may ease or even appear to have gone away all together. While your experience may fluctuate in intensity, symptoms will return and can worsen over time if you choose not to seek appropriate treatment.

What happens if my OCD is left untreated?

Obsessive-compulsive disorder is a chronic condition. This means it won’t fix itself and is generally not cured completely. OCD does not go away on its own. Without appropriate treatment, your obsessive-compulsive symptoms will become chronic and may even grow worse over time.

This may feel hopeless: I’m going to have to deal with this for the rest of my life. But there is good news! With the right help and resources, you can enjoy a life beyond these obsessive fears and compulsive responses. You can be free from this cycle.

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