Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder or “OCD” is generally seen in the medical, psychological and therapeutic communities to be a physiological disorder of brain function that involves a complex interplay of thoughts, behaviors and delicate brain chemistry. It occurs in both genders, adults and children, and is found in all parts of the world.
The term “obsessive” refers to the tendency to think and rethink an idea over and over again – far beyond any practical reason to do so. The “compulsive” in OCD refers to the overbearing urge to complete a behavior or repeat a mental ritual which is believed by the person to resolve or reduce an anxious thought that undergirds the obsession. OCD is in the broad family of anxiety disorders and may include some of the following symptoms:
- Checking things repeatedly
- Hand washing, showering, or cleansing rituals
- Counting, praying, repeating phrases in order to reduce a dreaded outcome
- Mental and behavioral rituals often distress close friends and family and consume large amounts of time, leading to decreased daily functioning at work, school or home
Current evidence-based treatment for OCD involves a combination of exposure-therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy and SSRI medications. Exposure therapy is a gradual and intentional exposure to the underlying anxiety while gradually giving up the ritual which was previously being used to neutralize the anxiety. Cognitive behavioral therapy helps the sufferer to structure and practice new beliefs to replace the faulty “thinking errors” which surround and reinforce the OCD thought patterns. SSRI medications are believed to help the individual obtain a more optimum balance of neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine and other brain chemicals known to affect the way the brain resolves anxiety.
If you or a family member are suffering with OCD we encourage you to research and learn about treatment development of the last 10 years. Relief is available with the right treatment. Call us today if you would like to consult with one of our OCD counselors.