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What Is Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder?
OCD is a mental health concern characterized by two interconnected elements – intrusive thoughts, followed by specific actions taken to neutralize them. Unfortunately, these behaviors only provide short-term relief, which traps people in an ongoing cycle.
Because people with obsessive-compulsive disorder rely on repetitive, time-consuming routines to manage their stress and anxiety, one way to differentiate OCD from everyday worries is to ask yourself whether your concerns have an associated behavioral component that prevents you from fulfilling your regular responsibilities.
Many OCD compulsions come from a belief that doing certain things in a particular order can prevent a negative consequence. Examples could include spending hours washing your hands and cleaning and disinfecting your home to avoid illness, or meticulously arranging and rearranging objects.
Do I Have OCD?
While many people with OCD understand their obsessive thoughts and behaviors are impractical, they could seem genuine in some cases. Regardless of how realistic your ideas and the steps you take to control them feel to you, a hallmark of OCD is struggling to stop the sequence.
A diagnosis of OCD requires the presence of compulsive routines that take more than one hour per day, cause significant distress, and interfere with daily tasks such as work and family management. People with OCD may also steer clear of people, places, or circumstances that upset them and trigger unwanted thoughts and actions. This avoidance may further impair your ability to function and detract from your overall quality of life.
OCD affects 2 to 3% of people in the United States, and occurs more often in women than men. Obsessive-compulsive disorder often begins in childhood or early adulthood. Some people may have OCD symptoms without meeting all the criteria for this disorder.
Find joy and inner peace.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder can be one of the most disruptive mental illnesses, since the time required to complete the ritualistic behaviors can take hours out of your day. Fortunately, treatment is available to help you find relief from your OCD symptoms and regain control of your life.
OCD treatment can improve your ability to function at work or school, nurture and enjoy relationships, and pursue enjoyable hobbies and activities. First, you will have a confidential meeting with a counselor who will assess your symptoms and determine how best to proceed. Even severe OCD can respond well to a combination of prescription medication and talk therapy.
A class of medications known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors can successfully treat OCD. SSRIs help improve obsessive-compulsive symptoms by increasing the levels of a neurotransmitter called serotonin in your brain.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy is an evidence-based approach that has also shown tremendous promise for relieving OCD symptoms. Mental health professionals who specialize in CBT work one on one with their clients, teaching them to identify and eliminate negativity.
When you confront your fears without experiencing any adverse consequences, you will learn that your intrusive thoughts have no power to harm you. Your anxiety will decrease over time as your therapist teaches you ways to manage stress and challenging emotions without relying on ritualistic patterns.
Group therapy can also be a beneficial part of the healing process. Many of our clients come to enjoy discussing their OCD surrounded by others who have experienced similar challenges. The fellowship found through group therapy can help you overcome the isolation associated with obsessive-compulsive disorder, while giving you a support network.
Regain Your Independence
With treatment, many people with OCD learn to recognize when they are having unrealistic thoughts and take steps to break the chain of ritualistic behaviors. At Serene Behavioral Health, our clinicians will empower you to discover newfound freedom from obsessive-compulsive disorder with evidence-based therapies. Reach out to us to learn more about our comprehensive approach to mental health care.