What is OCD?
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a disorder that affects individuals of all ages and walks of life, and occurs when an individual gets caught in a cycle of obsessions and compulsions.
Obsessions are unwanted, intrusive thoughts, images, or urges that trigger intensely distressing feelings. Obsessions are often related to areas or issues that are most important or precious to the individual, accompanied by a fear that others will not understand the obsessive thoughts thus making it difficult to communicate the anxiety or distress. Common obsessions can include:
- Contamination (e.g., fear of germs, getting sick or being poisoned)
- Unwanted sexual or violent thoughts
- Losing control
- Harm coming to others due to negligence (e.g., fear of unknowingly running over someone)
- Religious obsessions (also referred to as “scrupulosity”)
Compulsions are behaviors an individual engages in to attempt to get rid of the anxiety caused by the obsession and/or decrease his or her distress. In many cases this can be repetitive behaviors, thoughts, or seeking of reassurance. Common compulsions can include:
- Excessive or frequent washing or cleaning
- Excessive or frequent checking (that the door is locked, that appliances are off, etc.)
- Mental compulsions (counting, praying, assurance statements, and reviewing)
- Excessive or frequent reassurance seeking (asking others “Are you sure I’m going to be OK?”)
- Avoiding situations that may trigger their obsessions
This cycle of obsessions and compulsions can become so extreme that it consumes much of the individual’s time and gets in the way of important activities that the person values.
OCD: A Common Disorder (You are Not Alone!)
Although obsessions are varied, it is important to know that you are not alone! OCD affects 1 in 100 adults and 1 in 200 kids and teens with over 4.5 million individuals affected currently. While it may be helpful to realize that you are not alone, we know that living life filled with OCD is not a quality of life that anyone desires.
OCD affects not only the individual; being a family member of a person with OCD is also full of challenges. As a loved one, it can be hard to watch someone you love live at the mercy of their OCD. But, thankfully, there are things you can do to help!
At A New Beginning, we absolutely love working with partners, parents, and families to help them learn strategies for addressing the OCD.
Well-Researched, Effective Techniques for OCD
At A New Beginning, our team of skilled clinicians specializing in the treatment of OCD readily understand the causes and impact of OCD and we are here to guide you down a comforting path out.
Depending on your specific needs, our therapists may utilize one or more of the following research-based techniques in the treatment of your anxiety:
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): CBT for OCD focuses on teaching techniques to help patients to explore, understand, and implement alternative ways of thinking and behaving.
- Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT): ACT focuses on finding a way to allow obsessions and anxiety to come and go without interfering with the way one lives his or her life.
- Exposure Response Prevention Therapy (ERP): ERP therapy involves working with a licensed mental health provider to face your fears through “exposure” without doing your compulsions the “response prevention”. ERP is typically done in an outpatient setting, which means you visit your therapist’s office at a scheduled time weekly or a few times a week. In collaboration with your therapist, you will use structured exercises and tasks, as well as homework assignments to help you along the way.
While seemingly daunting and perhaps a bit overwhelming, OCD is a very treatable condition. Our skilled clinicians at A New Beginning can help you or your loved one find peace from the constant mental chatter. There is a beautiful life out there…we’d like to help you find it!