Can Your OCD Make You More Irritable?

Obsessive-compulsive disorder is a mental illness characterized by obsessive thoughts of bad things happening and compulsive actions taken to ward off the bad things. Few studies have been done on OCD and irritability, but those that have been done clearly show a correlation between having OCD and being more angry and irritable.

How To Manage Your Emotions

It’s vital to understand that your emotions are there to be experienced. Suppressing your emotions will only lead to problems down the road. Numerous studies have shown that suppressing emotions leads to stress, which leads to heart disease, stroke, and heart attacks. It’s crucial that you learn how to manage your emotions.

It’s important to realize that emotions are neither “good” nor “bad.” They simply are. There are emotions that feel better than others, of course. The best way to characterize them is as wanted or unwanted emotions. You want to experience more joy, love, delight, and satisfaction; you don’t want to experience more anger, grief, irritability, or depression.

When you have OCD, you frequently feel like your life isn’t under your control, that you’re a slave to your obsessions and compulsions. That in and of itself can create irritability. Then, if someone interrupts your rituals and compulsive behaviors, that irritability will only increase, often turning into anger or even rage.

To manage your emotions, first look at the impact they’re having in your life. Are you fighting more with your partner or blowing up at your boss? Next, identify what emotion you’re feeling. You can start with simpler emotions such as mad, happy, sad, or upset. Try to get more nuanced — are you outraged, blissful, melancholy, or bereft?

You need to accept your emotions, whether wanted or unwanted. It’s imperative that you understand that your emotions play a vital role in your life. Don’t tell yourself to just calm down or that it’s all going to be ok; you deserve better than to placate yourself like that.

When your emotions threaten to take over and cause a meltdown, take a deep breath. Breathe in slowly through your nose for a count of four, hold it for a count of four, exhale for a count of four, and hold it for a count of four. This type of breathing — box breathing — relaxes your muscles and regulates your heart rate, both of which can calm and soothe you.

If all else fails, you may want to consider medication. You could see a mental health professional and go on prescription meds for OCD, or you could try over the counter calming medicine such as Brillia.

Know What Triggers Your OCD

Knowing your OCD triggers can help manage your irritability. For some people, OCD flares up whenever they leave the house. For others, it happens when they’re cooking. The triggers are different for everyone. It’s all a matter of knowing what’s likely to set off obsessive thoughts that require compulsive behaviors to resolve.

OCD irritability comes from a variety of sources, including the feelings of loss of control of your life and having your ritual compulsive behaviors interrupted. You may want to consider taking non drowsy anxiety meds, whether prescription or over-the-counter. At the end of the day, knowing that your irritability is valid and acceptable will make a real difference in your life.