Games that Assist with OCD Management

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a mental health disorder that affects millions of people worldwide. It can be a debilitating condition that makes it difficult for people to function in their daily lives. However, there are ways to manage OCD symptoms, including through the use of games. Games can provide structure and help those with OCD manage their symptoms, while also having fun in the process.

In this blog post, we’ll explore some games that are specifically designed to help individuals with OCD manage their symptoms. From tabletop games and video games to mobile apps, we’ll cover a range of options that can help you or a loved one find fun in structure.

OCD and the Role of Structure

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a mental health condition that affects millions of people worldwide. It is characterized by intrusive thoughts and repetitive behaviors that individuals feel compelled to perform in order to alleviate anxiety or prevent perceived harm. Living with OCD can be challenging, but there are strategies and tools that can assist in managing its symptoms.

“Structure” provides a framework and sense of order that can help individuals with OCD regain a sense of control and reduce anxiety. By incorporating structure into daily routines and activities, individuals can create a sense of predictability and stability, which can be immensely beneficial in managing OCD symptoms.

While traditional methods of incorporating structure, such as creating to-do lists or establishing a set schedule, can be effective, there are also alternative approaches that can make the process more enjoyable. Games can be a valuable tool in managing OCD, as they provide an engaging and interactive way to introduce structure into daily life.

Benefits of Games into OCD management

Incorporating games into the management of OCD can offer a multitude of benefits. Not only do games provide a form of entertainment and relaxation, but they can also serve as a practical tool to assist individuals in coping with their symptoms.

One major advantage of using games in OCD management is their ability to serve as a distraction. Engaging in a game can divert the individual’s attention away from intrusive thoughts and compulsive behaviors, allowing them to focus on the game’s objectives instead. This shift in attention can provide temporary relief and help break the cycle of obsessive thinking.

Games often involve following rules and adhering to specific structures, which can be particularly helpful for individuals with OCD. By immersing themselves in a game, individuals can practice structured thinking and learn to channel their need for order and control in a healthy and controlled manner. This structured gameplay can provide a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment, helping to alleviate anxiety and stress associated with OCD.

Games can offer a safe environment for exposure therapy. Many individuals with OCD benefit from gradually exposing themselves to triggers or situations that evoke their obsessions or compulsions. Games can provide a controlled setting to simulate these triggers, allowing individuals to practice confronting and managing their anxiety in a supportive and less overwhelming context.

Games alone should not replace professional therapy or treatment for OCD. However, incorporating games into a comprehensive treatment plan can complement other therapeutic interventions and contribute to overall improvement in managing OCD symptoms. By providing a fun and engaging way to practice coping strategies and develop skills, games can become a valuable tool in the journey towards managing OCD effectively.

Puzzle Games

Cognitive flexibility and problem-solving skills

Puzzle games provide a structured and controlled environment where individuals with OCD can practice and improve their cognitive abilities. These games often require players to think critically, analyze patterns, and devise strategies to solve complex problems. By engaging in these types of activities, individuals with OCD can train their minds to be more flexible, adaptable, and open to different possibilities.

One of the key challenges for individuals with OCD is breaking free from rigid and repetitive thought patterns. Puzzle games offer an excellent opportunity to disrupt these patterns and encourage flexible thinking. As players encounter various obstacles and puzzles, they are forced to approach each challenge from different angles, fostering a sense of adaptability and creativity.

Puzzle games provide a sense of achievement and satisfaction upon successfully completing a challenging level or solving a difficult puzzle. This positive reinforcement can boost self-confidence and motivation, which are crucial aspects of managing OCD.

There are numerous puzzle games available across different platforms, ranging from classic jigsaw puzzles to digital games that offer intricate and mind-bending challenges. Choosing a game that aligns with your interests and preferences can make the process even more enjoyable.

Strategy games

Decision-making and planning abilities

Strategy games are an excellent way to enhance decision-making and planning abilities, making them an ideal tool for managing OCD symptoms. These types of games require players to think critically, analyze situations, and strategize their moves to achieve desired outcomes.

One popular strategy game that can be beneficial for individuals with OCD is chess. Known as the “game of kings,” chess challenges players to anticipate their opponent’s moves while planning their own. This game helps develop logical thinking, problem-solving, and decision-making skills. By engaging in chess regularly, individuals with OCD can improve their ability to analyze situations and make thoughtful decisions, traits that can be transferred to real-life scenarios.

Another strategy game that can assist with OCD management is Settlers of Catan. This board game involves resource management, negotiation, and strategic planning. Players must make decisions that consider both short-term benefits and long-term goals, fostering skills in weighing options and making calculated choices. By playing Settlers of Catan, individuals with OCD can practice decision-making in a controlled and enjoyable environment.

Furthermore, video games like Civilization VI can provide a similar experience. This turn-based strategy game allows players to build and manage civilizations, making decisions that impact the development and success of their virtual society. The game requires careful planning, analysis of resources, and diplomatic decision-making. By engaging in Civilization VI, individuals with OCD can improve their ability to prioritize tasks, plan ahead, and make strategic choices.

Role-playing games

Exposure and desensitization

Role-playing games can be incredibly beneficial for individuals managing OCD. These games provide a safe and controlled environment for exposure and desensitization, allowing players to confront their fears and anxieties in a supportive setting.

In a role-playing game, players create and control fictional characters, embarking on quests and adventures within a predetermined storyline. This interactive format allows individuals to simulate real-life situations that may trigger their OCD symptoms. By engaging in these simulated scenarios, players can gradually expose themselves to their fears in a controlled manner.

For example, if someone with contamination-related OCD fears touching dirty surfaces, they may create a character who must navigate through a dungeon filled with filthy environments. As they guide their character through these challenges, they will be exposed to their fear of contamination in a virtual context. Over time, this exposure can help desensitize them to their fears, reducing the anxiety associated with them.

Additionally, role-playing games often involve decision-making and problem-solving, requiring players to think critically and strategize. This can help individuals with OCD develop cognitive flexibility and challenge rigid thinking patterns, which are common characteristics of the disorder.

Furthermore, the social aspect of role-playing games can provide a sense of community and support. Many games can be played online with others, allowing individuals to connect with like-minded individuals who may be going through similar experiences. This shared camaraderie can offer encouragement, validation, and a sense of belonging, which can be immensely beneficial for those managing OCD.

Organization games

Developing order and cleanliness habits

If you’re looking for a fun and interactive way to develop order and cleanliness habits, organization games are the perfect solution. These games not only provide entertainment but also serve as effective tools in managing OCD (Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder) symptoms.

One popular game that can help with developing order and cleanliness habits is “The Sims.” In this simulation game, players create and control virtual characters, guiding them through their daily lives. The game requires players to maintain a clean and organized environment for their characters, including tidying up, organizing belongings, and keeping the space clutter-free. By engaging in these virtual tasks, players can develop a sense of order and cleanliness, which can translate into their real lives.

Another game that promotes organization and order is “House Flipper.” In this game, players take on the role of a house renovator, purchasing run-down properties, and transforming them into beautiful homes. From cleaning up the mess to organizing furniture and decorations, players must tackle various tasks that require attention to detail and a sense of order. By engaging in these virtual renovation projects, players can develop skills in organizing spaces and cultivating a clean and structured environment.

For those who prefer a more puzzle-oriented approach, “Tetris” is an excellent choice. This classic game requires players to arrange falling blocks in a strategic manner to form complete lines. As players strive for a perfect fit, they naturally develop skills in spatial organization and efficient arrangement. This can translate into improved orderliness and cleanliness habits in real life.

Relaxation games

Stress reduction and mindfulness practice

In addition to providing structure and organization, games can also be a powerful tool for managing stress and practicing mindfulness. These relaxation games are designed to help individuals with OCD find a sense of calm and tranquility amidst the chaos of their thoughts and compulsions.

One such game is “Breath of Nature,” a serene virtual reality experience that immerses players in a peaceful natural environment. With soothing sounds and breathtaking visuals, this game encourages deep breathing and relaxation techniques. By focusing on the present moment and letting go of racing thoughts, individuals can find solace and reduce stress levels.

Another game that promotes stress reduction and mindfulness is “Zen Puzzle Garden.” This puzzle game requires players to arrange stones in a Japanese rock garden, creating harmonious patterns and designs. The meditative gameplay encourages a state of flow, where individuals can fully immerse themselves in the task at hand and let go of intrusive thoughts. As players complete each puzzle, they experience a sense of accomplishment and tranquility.

Coloring Therapy” is a digital coloring book game that offers a therapeutic and creative outlet for individuals with OCD. By selecting different colors and filling in intricate designs, players can engage in a relaxing and mindful activity. This game allows individuals to express their creativity, focus their attention on the present moment, and find inner peace.

Mindful Matching” is a memory and concentration game that combines cognitive challenges with mindfulness exercises. Players are tasked with matching pairs of cards while simultaneously practicing deep breathing and being fully present in the moment. This game not only stimulates cognitive abilities but also cultivates a sense of calm and centeredness.

Tips for effectively utilizing games in OCD management

When it comes to managing OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder), incorporating games into your routine can be a helpful and enjoyable strategy. Games provide structure, engagement, and a sense of control that can assist in managing OCD symptoms. Here are some tips for effectively utilizing games in OCD management:

  • Choose games that align with your interests: Select games that you genuinely enjoy playing. Whether it’s puzzles, strategy games, or interactive adventures, finding games that capture your attention will make the OCD management process more enjoyable and sustainable.
  • Set realistic goals: Break down your gaming sessions into manageable chunks of time. Setting specific goals within each session can help you stay focused and prevent gaming from becoming an obsessive behavior itself. For example, aim to complete a specific level or achieve a certain score before taking a break.
  • Use games as a distraction technique: When intrusive thoughts or impulses arise, games can serve as a helpful distraction. Engaging in gameplay can redirect your attention away from OCD-related obsessions and compulsions, allowing you to gain a sense of control and relaxation.
  • Incorporate exposure therapy: Many games offer opportunities to confront fears or triggers in a virtual setting. By exposing yourself to these triggers within a game, you can gradually desensitize yourself to them in real life. This can be an effective way to practice exposure therapy in a controlled and manageable environment.
  • Seek multiplayer or cooperative options: Engaging in multiplayer or cooperative games can foster a sense of social connection and support, which is beneficial for individuals managing OCD. Playing with friends or joining online communities can provide a sense of validation, understanding, and camaraderie.
  • Take breaks when needed: It’s important to maintain a healthy balance between gaming and other aspects of your life. Remember to take breaks, engage in self-care activities, and manage your time effectively. Don’t let gaming become an obsession in itself.


The concept of using games for managing OCD symptoms has been explored through various approaches, showing promising results in some cases. Here’s a summary of the information gathered from trusted sources:

Mobile Apps for OCD Management

The International OCD Foundation has partnered with One Mind PsyberGuide to provide reviews of apps targeted towards OCD management. These apps are rated based on credibility, user experience, and data transparency. Some of these apps, like “GGOC: OCD Relief” and “nOCD,” have been reviewed for their effectiveness in managing OCD symptoms. These apps aim to provide accessible tools for OCD management, either as standalone aids, in conjunction with therapy, or as a transition from face-to-face treatment​​.

Use of ‘Serious’ Video Games

Research involving serious video games designed specifically for OCD management has been conducted. For instance, scientists from Chung Ang University Korea and Stanford University School of Medicine developed an ERP-based (Exposure and Response Prevention) mobile video game. This game incorporates the technique of making a short pause before completing a task, thereby breaking the thought-action link and increasing awareness of OCD among patients​​.

Virtual Reality Games

A study mentioned on Frontiers involves a virtual reality game designed to assess and potentially manage OCD symptoms. The game presents a first-person perspective where the player navigates through a house with various OCD-related items. This setup allows for exposure to triggers and offers a controlled environment for confronting and managing OCD symptoms through virtual interactions​​.

Complexity and Storytelling in Role-Playing Games

An article on Psychology Today discusses the dual nature of complex games, particularly role-playing games, in managing OCD. While these games can offer a significant distraction from OCD symptoms due to their complexity and immersive nature, they also carry the risk of exacerbating certain aspects of OCD, such as perfectionism. The key is in using these games thoughtfully and in moderation​​.

While games and apps can provide valuable support in managing OCD symptoms, they should be used as part of a comprehensive treatment plan, and not as a replacement for professional therapy. Their effectiveness can vary based on the individual’s specific needs and the nature of their OCD symptoms. As with any mental health tool, it’s important to approach these resources with a balanced perspective and in consultation with healthcare professionals.


We hope you found our blog post on games that assist with OCD management helpful and insightful. Living with OCD can be challenging, but incorporating fun and engaging activities into your routine can make a significant difference. These games not only provide entertainment but also serve as effective tools for managing OCD symptoms.

By embracing structure and incorporating these games into your daily life, you can find a balance between fun and managing your condition. Remember to prioritize self-care and seek professional help when needed. Let the games begin, and may your journey towards managing OCD be filled with joy and progress!

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