From Survivor to Thriver

Understanding How To Manage OCD and Intrusive Thoughts with Zach Westerbeck, Part 1

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Episode notes

Do you struggle with OCD? 

According to the World Health Organization, it is one of the top ten most debilitating disorders, but it is one of the most misdiagnosed. This means that many people with this disorder aren’t getting the help they need. 

In this episode of From Survivor to Thriver, we have a special two-part episode with Zach Westerbeck, where we talk about the things that people don’t know or understand about OCD, what it actually is, the truth about intrusive thoughts, and so much more. 

Zach Westerbeck is a Mental Health advocate, National speaker, College Success Coach, and author of “You’re Not Alone”, who was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder in 2016. During that time period he experienced severe anxiety, deep depression, and thoughts of suicide. After hitting his rock bottom moment, he sought help and started to recover. 

Through his recovery process, he became Mental Health First Aid certified and now travels the country educating thousands of students on the fundamentals of mental health. Through his personal experiences and extensive research, he is able to relate and clearly articulate why now, more than ever, it is critical to understand how to manage your mental health. 

Zach has spoken at higher learning institutions such as Penn State, Georgia Tech, Purdue University, University of Arizona, to name a few.

In today’s episode we cover: 

  • What OCD really is
  • When disorders like this manifest
  • The impact of intrusive thoughts
  • The relationships that you have with your thoughts
  • Breaking compulsive patterns
  • Signs of OCD in children
  • Exposure and response prevention
  • Why ERP therapy is so effective

We hope you enjoyed part one of our conversation with Zach. Make sure to tune in Thursday to hear part 2 as we dive even deeper into this conversation. If you want to hear more from Zach, make sure to check out his book and tune in to his podcast

Thanks again for tuning in. We are so grateful to each and every one of you. Please remember to leave a rating and review of our show. It helps us grow and reach those who need it. Also, make sure to subscribe so you never miss an episode! 


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“OCD isn’t just perfectionism. It’s not just organization, it’s not just cleanliness. It transcends way beyond that.” -Zach

“OCD really is consuming.” -Marc

“For those of us with OCD, the scary part is we can actually change the narrative in our own minds.” -Erik