Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder that affects one percent of the U.S. population and is characterized by uncontrollable, recurring thoughts that make them feel driven to do something repetitively. Obsessions may range from fear of contamination to aggressive thoughts towards oneself or others, whereas compulsions can be counting, arranging items in a particular way, excessive cleaning, or repeatedly checking things. While symptoms can come and go over time, people with OCD generally spend at least one hour a day on these obsessive thoughts or compulsive behaviors and experience significant problems in their daily life as a result.
If you’re one of the 2.2 million adults with OCD in the United States, you may be wondering if there are treatment options available besides antidepressants like clomipramine or sertraline. The answer is: yes. Maulik K. Trivedi, M.D., is a psychiatrist in Carrollwood dedicated to making sure medications are seldom the first or only option for your OCD treatment. Instead, he and his staff utilize the MindBody Care™ modalities, such as yoga, meditation, cognitive behavioral therapy, and fitness counseling. In this article, we’ll review how exercise may be able to relieve symptoms of your OCD.
Research Has Shown Aerobic Exercise Can Reduce the Severity of OCD Symptoms
Ana M. Abrantes, Professor of Psychiatry and Human Behavior at Brown University, has devoted her research to improving the treatment outcomes of individuals with addictive behaviors and increasing physical activity among individuals with mental health programs for years. In 2017, she conducted a randomized controlled trial to test the effectiveness of aerobic exercise for decreasing OCD symptom severity and other mental health outcomes. The results of this study suggested that both exercise and health-focused interventions could be the key to improving existing OCD treatment and effectively reducing OCD symptoms. The overall severity and frequency of the symptoms experienced by the participants gradually decreased over the 12 weeks of exercise, and some participants noted that these improvements were still present even six months after the study.
Aerobic Exercise Has Been Linked to Other Health Benefits
Regular aerobic exercise, an average of 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, has also been known to help you live a longer, healthier life. For starters, aerobic exercise decreases your risk for a number of serious conditions, including but not limited to:
- High blood pressure
- Metabolic syndrome
- Type 2 Diabetes
- Certain types of cancer
If that wasn’t enough, individuals who engage in aerobic exercise also enjoy additional benefits, such as improved memory, cognition, and processing speed. Not to mention, exercise can be a great distraction from many of the obsessions and compulsions you may be experiencing. If you’re thinking about adding exercise to your OCD treatment strategy and taking control of your symptoms, speak to Dr. Trivedi about OCD treatment in Carrollwood today.
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