Stop obsessing

How to Stop OCD Counting

Nidhi Nangia
By Nidhi Nangia. Updated: August 2, 2020
How to Stop OCD Counting

It’s normal to count your money, and then come back again to double check the total. But doesn’t it sound unusual if someone counts the steps that he walks, stairs that he climbs, letters in every word he reads, tiles on the floor, panes in the window, and everything he comes across. Occasional counting can be ignored, but making counting a habit is scientifically termed as Obsessive Compulsive Disorder or OCD. In this mental disorder, the compulsive counting becomes so excessive that it starts interfering with the person’s everyday life. No matter what the person does, he just can’t seem to resist counting. But fortunately, help is present. With self-help and treatment strategies, you may break free of unwanted counting. Read this oneHOWTO article to find out how to stop OCD counting.

  1. Acknowledgement of OCD counting as a mental problem
  2. Shifting the focus to something more creative
  3. Lifestyle changes
  4. Medical treatment

Acknowledgement of OCD counting as a mental problem

The first technique to stop OCD counting is to acknowledge it as a problem and work towards correcting it. The patient is made to realize that the compulsive counting he is doing is symptom of a mental disorder, and it is not something he thinks natural. No one will want to be called a mentally ill person, and mindful awareness of the fact will motivate him to take control. He will start making conscious efforts to interfere with the counting going on in his head, and the result will be an overall improvement.

Take a look at how to help a person with OCD if you have a close friend or family member who suffers from OCD.

Shifting the focus to something more creative

Shifting the focus involves replacing a compulsion with a more constructive behavior. This new behavior will still be a compulsion, but its goal will be to act as a distraction from your OCD counting. For instance, the next time you find yourself counting any absurd thing, start reading, knitting, exercising, breathing, listening to music, walking or doing anything else that can shift your focus. By changing your compulsive behavior that will distract your mind, your OCD counting should decrease over time.

How to Stop OCD Counting - Shifting the focus to something more creative

Lifestyle changes

OCD counting is compulsive counting that you consciously or unconsciously do due to stress and anxiety. By making a few lifestyle changes, you can overcome and take control effectively:

Exercising regularly

Physical exercise is one of the most effectively treatments for stress and anxiety. It strengthens your nervous system and controls your OCD symptoms, so that you can shift your focus whenever an urge to count hits your mind. Try to get aerobic exercise for around 30 minutes 3-5 times in a week. If you can’t devote 30 minutes at a stretch, you can divide this time into three stretches of 10 minutes each. It will be equally effective in shifting your mind and enhance your movement process.

Be in touch with friends and family

Sometimes, OCD counting becomes so severe that you start isolating from family and society. In turn, isolating yourself from society can even aggravate your condition. In that case, it is important to spend some time with friends and family, and talk to them about your urges and worries. When you share your urges with someone, they become less real and you start avoiding them consciously.

Taking adequate sleep

Worry and anxiety are not the only factors associated with insomnia and stress. But lack of sleep may also worsen your anxious feelings and thoughts. When your body is well rested, it becomes easier for you to maintain emotional balance. This can be a key factor to cope up with OCD counting and other anxiety disorders.

Practice techniques to relax your mind

Stress is a significant factor that can make your OCD counting worse. Yoga, meditation, deep breathing and other such techniques can lower down your stress level and help in managing your urges. Make these techniques a regular part of your daily routine, and you will definitely see best results over time.

Medical treatment

Sometimes, antidepressants may be used in conjunction with another therapy for treating OCD counting. However, medical treatment is rarely effective in getting over this condition.

This article is merely informative, oneHOWTO does not have the authority to prescribe any medical treatments or create a diagnosis. We invite you to visit your doctor if you have any type of condition or pain.

If you want to read similar articles to How to Stop OCD Counting, we recommend you visit our Mental health category.

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1 comment
Barbara Brady
Came across this article by accident as was looking for something else. I have this problem but didn't realise it was actually a condition. I will try to use some of the techniques given for self help to break what I thought was a stupid habit.
OneHowTo Editor
Hi Barbara,

We are glad we could highlight a potential problem. While we cannot offer a diagnosis, we do recommend you speak to a health professional to enquire and what you can do. OCD can be manageable, but we often need to help to find the ways we can manage it.
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How to Stop OCD Counting