It is important to note that avoidance can be just as detrimental as rituals when it comes to giving the OCD power and contributing to the OCD cycle. Although there may be many places and situations, which you avoid due to your OCD, with proper treatment you can engage, return to and resume activities (thoughts, people, places or things) you have previously been avoiding. When engaging in ERP it is important that you work to eliminate avoidance behaviors (both avoidance of exposure situations as well as avoidance of touching/cross-contaminating certain things) in order to make optimal progress in your treatment.
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Avoidance serves the same function as a ritual in Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Dr. Eric Storch explains how avoiding something feard only temporarily reduces anxiety. Visit PeaceofMind.com for more educational videos and information about OCD and other mental illnesses.