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OCD Rumination | How to get help?

OCD Rumination | How to get help?

In obsessive compulsive disorder or OCD obsessions are the intrusive and repetitive images and thoughts which are extremely distressing to the individual and compulsions are the act the individual ritualistically performs to reduce the distress. The compulsion here is a direct result of the obsession.

The common types of OCD such as cleaning/washing, aggressive type or the symmetry type can be easily detected. They all have an obvious compulsive behaviour the individual engages often engages in.

But there is type of OCD that is very hard to notice, they are commonly known as “pure-O” or pure obsessions. Here the individual only tends to have obsessions.

Many a times in pure-O the individual may belief for years that they do not have any obvious compulsive behaviour and in some cases it can be true. But in most cases the individual does have a compulsion, mental compulsion acts.

In this mental act the individual pays deep attention to the obsessive thought or image and starts questioning them over and over and try to find possible solutions.

This mental act of going over the obsessive thought over and over again is known as rumination. Individuals tend to ruminate on certain topics:

  • Philosophy
  • Metaphysical
  • Questions of life and death
  • Religion
  • Origin of universe
  • Nature of morality

Many assume rumination to be the intrusive thoughts and images that occur in OCD, which many consider as misleading. Rumination is a mental act the individual engages in to reduce distress experiencing from obsessive thoughts.

Individuals many go on rumination on one obsessive thought, questing and trying to find answers, for hours and even days. They may normal but the individual themselves know how distressing it is.

The individual may go on for years assuming they only have obsessions and no compulsions for it. Ruminations in OCD are very hard to detect but once detected the individual can help reducing and eventually stop it.

Top three techniques to help reduce ruminating-

intrusive thoughts

Rumination can be quite the burden, psychologically. If you suffer from a negative overthinking cycle, then you have to know that people with overthinking tendencies have managed to put a stop or reduce the flow of unproductive and exhaustive thoughts.

Many techniques are considered as rumination OCD treatment because they will help you come out of the negative thought pattern which has manifested into a habit.

Here are the three techniques that will help reduce anxiety and increase happiness:

Mindfulness training-

Psychologists have developed cognitive therapies that help patients dealing with rumination intrusive thoughts by practicing mindfulness.

This is quite effective because mindfulness makes us think about how we think, instead of having a downward spiral with our thoughts.

Mindfulness brings a sense of awareness into your thought patterns and helps you identify the triggers and realize where the negative thoughts come from.

Mindfulness therapy will include educational sessions and psychological interventions, along with breathing techniques and yoga.

The main goal of these sessions is to help the patient gain insights on how their brain functions, and encourage individuals to focus on their present state. The exercises also stop the patient from obsessing over the past.

Problem-solving techniques-

OCD rumination can be described as “problem-solving gone haywire”. Hence, it makes sense that one of the key techniques to problem solving is addressing and reversing the numbing and paralyzing effects of rumination.

The first step would be to ask the right questions. For instance, choose action-focused questions like “what can I do about it?” instead of “why did that happen?”. Once you get your questions sorted you move on to the basic steps of problem-solving-

  • Identifying the problem
  • Deciding on the objective
  • Listing resources that will help tackle the goals
  • Tracing a step by step action plan
  • Putting the plan into writing if needed


This technique involves not giving your mind time to brood or engage in any negative thoughts that will lead to a downward spiral. You can keep your mind occupied with something that you find motivating or interesting. This could be volunteering, exercising, or singing.

The important thing to note is choosing a constructive distraction, instead of depending on toxic distractions like overeating and substance abuse with drugs or alcohol. Of course, the idea of distraction sounds good in theory but using it in real life can be challenging.

This is where you can go for professional help, as well. Therapists and counselors will teach you to replace your thought patterns and help you get better with mindfulness practice.

Another recommendation would be to allow yourself to ruminate for a brief period, set a time limit, and come out of the thought process to go on for a short period.

Overthinking or ruminating is a vicious cycle that is hard to quit, people who are engaged in negative thinking are on a never-ending quest for insight.

Patients who break away from this toxic pattern can look forward to achieving mental peace and achieving a sharper understanding of themselves.

Most treatment options for OCD operates on the basis that engaging in compulsion strengthens the obsession thus they focus on preventing the individual from engaging in the compulsive behaviour.

Likewise, for rumination the individual can engage in other activities when they realise they are ruminating. Individuals can engage in activities like singing a song or focusing on something in their environment.

When one realises they are not able to stop or control their rumination, professional help is necessary. Treatment options such as cognitive behavioural therapy, counselling, group therapies and other psychotherapies are available to help the individual cope with their obsessions. For treatment options from our expert team, call us on +91611194949.

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