Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a mental health condition characterized by intrusive thoughts or urges (obsessions) that drive individuals to engage in repetitive behaviors (compulsions). The obsessions often cause high levels of anxiety and distress, leading individuals to engage in compulsive behaviors to decrease these negative feelings. For individuals with OCD, these obsessions and compulsions are time-consuming and significantly affect their everyday life.
Symptoms & signs of OCD
The symptoms of OCD can vary from person to person, but the most common ones include:
- Intrusive thoughts or ideas that cause anxiety
- Repetitive behaviors or mental rituals meant to ease anxiety
- Doubts and worries about harm coming to self or others
- Excessive need for order, cleanliness, or symmetry
- Avoidance of certain people, places, and situations due to fear of triggering obsessions or compulsions
Misconceptions about OCD
OCD has become a household name in popular culture and media. People with OCD are often portrayed as being overly orderly or clean, when in reality, individuals may struggle with a wide variety of thoughts and behaviors.
While many people may experience some level of obsessive thoughts and compulsive behavior, true OCD significantly impairs someone’s functioning in everyday life. It is important to remember that OCD is not a choice; it is a mental health condition that requires proper care and treatment.<
Diagnosing obsessive compulsive disorder
The diagnosis of OCD is based on a clinical interview. A mental health professional will evaluate an individual’s symptoms and behaviors to determine if they meet the criteria for diagnosis. A clinical questionnaire such as the Yale-Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale may be used to measure the severity of an individual’s OCD. Some symptoms of OCD overlap with those seen in other psychiatric conditions, and individuals may also have conditions in addition to OCD.
Treatments for obsessive compulsive disorder
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive behavioral therapy is a form of psychotherapy that can help you recognize and change your negative thoughts and behaviors. Through therapy, you can learn to understand your obsessions and develop strategies for managing them in a healthy way.
Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) Therapy
Exposure and response prevention is a form of cognitive behavioral therapy specifically designed for treating obsessive-compulsive disorder. ERP involves gradually exposing yourself to the thoughts, images, or situations that trigger your obsessions, while learning how to resist compulsive behaviors.
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), often used for depression, are also effective medications to manage symptoms of OCD. These medications work by increasing levels of serotonin, a chemical in the brain that helps regulate mood and behavior.
Find relief from OCD at Geode Health
you or someone you know is struggling with obsessive thoughts or compulsive behaviors, we urge you to seek help. Geode Health offers comprehensive mental health services including the diagnosis and treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder. Our team of experts has the knowledge and experience to help you get your life back on track. Find a psychiatrist near you to get help, or book an appointment online.
If you are in crisis and in need of immediate support
Please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by dialing 988 or text the Crisis Text Line by texting HELLO to 741741