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Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

What Is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder?

Obsessive compulsive disorder is a mental health condition characterized by recurring and unwanted thoughts, sensations, or ideas. In order to feel a sense of control, people who struggle with these obsessive feelings, act out in compulsive ways. 

These repetitive actions like counting, handwashing, or checking on things can have a significant impact on day-to-day functioning.

Although popular culture suggests that people with OCD are neat or tidy, the reality is that OCD can be truly debilitating. 

People with OCD cannot simply ignore the intrusive thought they have or stop the rigid behaviors they adopt as part of their disordered routine. 

The inability to perform specific tasks and behaviors can cause serious distress or conjure of fear of dire consequences to loved ones. 

Even if a person with OCD understands logically that their thoughts are not realistic, they are unable to break the cycle of compulsion. 

OCD is a common condition. Stressful situations can trigger OCD or make existing behaviors worse.

What Is An Example Of An Obsession?

An obsession is a recurring or persistent thought. The distress they cause cannot be resolved with logic or reason in the mind of the person with OCD. These feelings are often characterized by anxiety, disgust, or fear.

Some common obsessions:

  • Fear of losing or throwing away something important
  • Overwhelming worry that something is “incomplete”
  • Extreme concern with order, patterns, or symmetry
  • Fear of contamination or germs

People with OCD may try to substitute other activities in an effort to suppress their obsessions.

Obsessively washing hands

What Is An Example Of A Compulsion?

A compulsion is a repetitive task that is designed to mitigate an obsession. This behavior may be a direct or indirect response to the obsession. Because they temporarily provide relief, it is common that the same behavior will occur in the future.

For a person with OCD who is obsessed with contamination, a compulsion might be highly ritualized handwashing.

Some compulsions manifest as avoidance. People with OCD may avoid certain places, objects, or people to control their obsession with their environment and their response to it. This avoidance can further erode their ability to function effectively in daily life.

How Is OCD Diagnosed?

There’s not a specific test to diagnose OCD. You’ll talk with a provider about your symptoms. Although the terminology about OCD is used very casually, there’s actually very specific diagnostic criteria outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition (DSM-V):

  • You have obsessions, compulsions or both
  • Performing ritualized behaviors takes a significant amount of time each day – typically more than an hour
  • Obsessions or compulsions affect social interactions, work responsibilities, or other aspects of daily life
  • Symptoms are not related to substance use
  • Symptoms can’t be explained by a medical condition

Symptoms can’t be explained by another mental health condition like generalized anxiety, eating disorder, or body dysmorphia.

What Are The Causes Of OCD?

As of now, experts aren’t sure what causes OCD to develop in children, adolescents, or adults. There may be genetic factors because the disorder appears to run in families. Men and women are equally affected by OCD. Many people with OCD experience co-occurrences of mental health issues like anxiety, depression, eating disorders, or substance use at some point in their lives. 

What Are The Treatment Options For OCD?

The treatment of OCD may not result in a cure, but it may help reduce the severity of symptoms and help restore balance to your daily life. Talk therapy and medication are two key aspects of OCD treatment. The most successful treatment plans use a combination of therapies. 

At Elite DNA Behavioral Health, we offer evidence-based psychiatric and psychotherapeutic treatments for a variety of neurobehavioral conditions, including OCD.

We take a holistic approach to developing your treatment plan. We look at everything such as your sleeping habits, lifestyle, and what your body and mind are experiencing. 

Our mental health professionals can address each of these areas. Typically, a treatment plan will include therapy, psychiatry services and, as needed, medication.

Many tailored treatment plans will include Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) to gradually expose you to triggers in a safe environment. 

Antidepressants have shown efficacy in treating OCD.

We have therapists and psychiatrists on staff, making the care you receive comprehensive and convenient for you.

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