What is Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)?
You struggle with unwanted, repetitive, and bothersome thoughts.
You try to ignore them, but they won't go away. In fact, it's gotten worse over time.
These, thoughts, images, or impulses make you feel uncomfortable. You find yourself engaging in repetitive behaviors in order to help you feel better. But, the improvement just lasts a bit, and you have to do them again.
When repetitive thoughts and behaviors interfere with everyday living, you might be suffering from OCD.
Here are some common obsessions and compulsions that might affect you if you dealing with OCD:
- Fear of contamination (due to germs, dirt, chemicals, etc.)
- Superstitious ideas about numbers or sequences
- Fear of harming oneself or others
- Concerns of offending God or doing something immoral
- Unwanted sexual thoughts or impulses
- Mental compulsions (e.g., counting, reviewing, praying)
- Checking (that you did not harm anyone or that you did something correctly)
- Ordering things until they feel "right"
- Asking others for reassurance
Sometimes, find yourself getting caught up in a seemingly endless cycle of obsessions and compulsions. Obsessions drive compulsive behaviors, which temporarily reduce the suffering associated with the obsessions. But, the relief is temporary, and the cycle continues.
At Gatewell, we can help.
We are trained in Cognitive-behavior therapy (CBT), an evidence-based treatment for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. That means that this type of therapy has been shown in the research to be effective. In fact, only CBT and medication are considered "first line" interventions for OCD.
A specific type of CBT, Exposure Plus Response Prevention (ERP) is typically used to treat OCD. With ERP, you face your obsessions without turning to compulsive behavior. Over time, you will likely experience a reduction in frequency and severity of your obsessions, which further reduces compulsive behavior. You can learn how to tolerate worrisome thoughts when they occur. In therapy, you can also work on accepting and separating from obsessive thoughts, while at the same time, focusing on creating a life worth living.
Disorders Associated with OCD:
Several other disorders fall under the Obsessive-Compulsive Disorders umbrella in the DSM-5. They include Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD), Trichotillomania, and Excoriation (Skin-Picking) Disorder, also referred to as Dermatillomania. Each of these disorders involves coping with distress via a repetitive activity/behavior, from appearance checking in BDD, to hair pulling or skin picking in the others. These disorders, too, can be treated with CBT/ERP and, sometimes, with adjunctive medication.
Our counselors are specifically trained in CBT and ERP protocols to address OCD and related conditions. OCD can be a challenging diagnosis, but with the right treatment, it does not have to entail a lifetime of suffering.