Inhibitory learning strategies can be a powerful way to stop obsessions and compulsions in their tracks. If you are struggling with OCD, then it is important to learn how to use these techniques effectively. In this blog post, we will discuss what inhibitory learning is, and how you can start using it to get relief from your symptoms.
What Are Inhibitory Learning Strategies?
Inhibitory learning strategies are techniques that help you to stop a particular behavior or action which can be helpful for treating OCD. For example, if you are compulsively checking the locks on your doors, an inhibitory learning strategy would be to deliberately not check the locks when you leave the house. This may sound counterintuitive, but it can actually be very effective in helping to break the cycle of compulsions.
Principles of Inhibitory Learning
There are two main principles of inhibitory learning that you should keep in mind when trying to stop your OCD symptoms.
- The first is that it is more effective to focus on stopping the behavior than it is to try and resist the urge to do the behavior. This means that instead of thinking about how you don’t want to check the locks, you should instead focus on not checking them.
- The second principle is that it is important to practice inhibitory learning strategies regularly. If you only use them occasionally, they are less likely to be effective. This means that you need to commit to using these techniques on a daily basis, even when you don’t feel like it.
These are the basis of inhibitory learning. If you keep these principles in mind, you will be well on your way to stopping your OCD symptoms.
Types Of Approaches
There are two main types of inhibitory learning approaches:
- Systematic Desensitization: This approach involves slowly and systematically exposing a person to their fears, starting with the least feared situations and working up to the most feared. The goal is to help the person learn that their fears are not real and that they can cope with them. This approach is often used in combination with other inhibitory learning strategies, such as cognitive restructuring.
- Response Prevention: This involves avoiding any type of response to the obsessive thoughts or urges, including both mental and physical responses. For example, if someone with OCD is obsessively thinking about contaminate their food, they would avoid cooking or eating altogether. If they are obsessively thinking about harming someone, they would avoid being around people. The goal of response prevention is to break the cycle of obsession-compulsion-relief and help the person learn that their thoughts are not real and do not need to be acted upon..
- Cognitive restructuring: This approach focuses on changing the way a person thinks about their obsessions and compulsions. For example, if someone is obsessively thinking about germs and contamination, cognitive restructuring would involve helping them to challenge and reframe those thoughts. They would learn to question why they are so afraid of germs, and to look at the evidence that supports their fear. This would help them to see that their thoughts are not rational, and to start to challenge and change them.
- Flooding: Flooding is an inhibitory learning strategy that involves exposing a person to their fears all at once, without any build-up or gradual exposure. This is an effective way to help a person confront their fears and learn that they are not real. However, it is also a very difficult and intense approach, and it is not appropriate for everyone.
- Fear extinction: Fear extinction is an inhibitory learning strategy that involves repeatedly exposing a person to their fears until they no longer respond to them with fear. This approach can be very effective, but it is also time-consuming and difficult. It is often used in combination with other inhibitory learning strategies, such as systematic desensitization.
Both of these approaches can be effective in helping you to reduce your OCD symptoms.
How Do They Work?
Inhibitory learning strategies work by helping you to change the way that you respond to certain triggers. For example, if you usually check the locks on your doors when you leave the house, an inhibitory learning strategy would be to deliberately not check the locks when you leave. This may sound counterintuitive, but it can actually be very effective in helping to break the cycle of compulsions.
Inhibitory learning strategies can also help you to confront your fears and learn new ways of dealing with them. For example, if you are afraid of germs, an inhibitory learning strategy would be to deliberately expose yourself to a situation where you are likely to come into contact with germs (such as going to a public place). This may seem daunting at first, but it can help you to learn new ways of dealing with your fear.
How To Use These Techniques?
If you are struggling with OCD, it is important to learn how to use inhibitory learning strategies effectively. Here are some tips:
- Identify your triggers: The first step is to identify the situations or activities that trigger your obsessions and compulsions.
- Choose an inhibitory learning strategy: Once you have identified your triggers, you can then choose an inhibitory learning strategy that you think will be most effective for you.
- Practice: It is important to practice your chosen strategy regularly, in order to see the best results.
- Be patient: They can take some time to work. So it is important to be patient and give yourself time to adjust.
If you are struggling with OCD, inhibitory learning strategies can be a powerful way to help you stop your obsessions as well as compulsions. By identifying your triggers and choosing an effective strategy, you can start to see results and get relief from your symptoms.
Examples Of Inhibitory Learning Strategies
These are some examples of different inhibitory learning strategies used for some common obsessions and compulsions.
- If you are obsessively worrying about getting sick, deliberately expose yourself to germs by not washing your hands for a period of time.
- If you are struggling with compulsive hand-washing, an inhibitory learning strategy would be to deliberately not wash your hands after certain activities (such as using the restroom).
- If you are compulsively checking the locks on your doors, an inhibitory learning strategy would be to deliberately not check the locks when you leave the house.
- If you are compulsively avoiding public places, an inhibitory learning strategy would be to deliberately go to a public place despite your fears.
- If you are compulsively straightening things, deliberately leave things in a messy state.If you are obsessively checking the stove to make sure it is turned off, deliberately leave it on and don’t check it.
Remember, these are just examples. It is important to work with a qualified mental health professional to find what works best for you.
Pros Of Using This Technique
There are a number of advantages to using inhibitory learning strategies. Below are some of the benefits:
- They can help to break the cycle of compulsions and obsessions.
- These can be used to target specific triggers and help you to learn new ways of dealing with them.
- Its can help you to confront your fears and learn new coping mechanisms.
- They are often relatively easy to learn.
- We can practice them at home, without the need for expensive treatment.
- They can be a powerful tool in helping you to get relief from your OCD symptoms.
- They can help you to manage your symptoms better and improve your quality of life.
Inhibitory learning strategies can be quite useful in managing your condition if it is the right technique for you.
Cons Of Using This Technique
There are a few potential disadvantages to using inhibitory learning strategies. Below are some of the drawbacks:
- It may not work for everyone.
- These can be stressful and anxiety-provoking.
- They can take some time to work and may require patience.
- It can be difficult to implement, and you may need support from a qualified mental health professional.
- In some cases, inhibitory learning strategies may not be effective.
- They can be challenging and may require a lot of effort and commitment.
These are some of the pros and cons of using inhibitory learning strategies for OCD..
Alternatives Of Inhibitory Learning Strategies
If you are not sure if inhibitory learning strategies are right for you, there are several other treatment options available. Some alternative treatments for OCD include:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT): This therapy can help you to identify triggers. It focuses on changing the thoughts and behaviors that contribute to your OCD symptoms.
- Exposure and response prevention (ERP): This type of therapy involves exposure to the things that trigger your OCD symptoms. It is followed by learning how to resist the urge to engage in compulsions or rituals.
- Medication: There are a number of different types of medication that can be used to treat OCD. Medications such as antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications, and antipsychotics.
- Support groups: There are a number of different types of support groups available for people with OCD. These groups can provide social support. Also, they can help you to learn from others who are dealing with similar challenges.
These are some of the alternative treatments for Inhibitory Learning Strategies. Choose whatever feels is the best way to improve yourself. If you are looking for ways to help manage your OCD symptoms, inhibitory learning strategies may be a good option for you.
Inhibitory learning strategies have not been proven to work for everyone. They are not evidence-based and there is no guarantee that they will also work for you. Nevertheless, They have proven to be the best in helping people with OCD.
If you are struggling with OCD, know that you are not alone. There are many resources available to help you cope with this condition. Reach out to Therapy Mantra for help getting started on the road to recovery. We have a team of mental health professionals who specialize in treating OCD. Our specialists can help you develop a treatment plan that meets your specific needs. Contact us today to book an online therapy or download our free OCD treatment app on Android or iOS for more information.