Millions of people struggle with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD); in fact, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration estimates that around 3.3 million US adults suffer from this condition. OCD can plague both the person suffering from it along with his family members, friends and co-workers. Some people with OCD may not realize that it is completely treatable, and that many people manage the disorder with professional help.
Signs of OCD
Obsessive compulsive disorder is an anxiety disorder that causes excessive and irrational fears related to uncertainty. Specifically, the illogical thoughts of OCD lead patients to repeat certain activities or behaviors so much that they neglect other daily activities. These compulsions are the result of trying to decrease anxiety, but carrying out the compulsions only temporarily relieves anxiety. As a result, people become locked into performing obsessive-compulsive rituals for hours, unable to stop for fear of the anxiety returning.
As the Mayo Clinic explains, people with OCD often focus on the following themes:
- Fears of being contaminated
- Fears of injuring oneself or others
- Sexual thoughts
- Strong desires to keep things in order
A person’s compulsions can also have the following themes:
- Checking or counting objects
- Needing continual reassurance
- Needing order
- Repetitive actions
- Washing and cleaning
If you notice that you perform any of these activities over and over to relieve anxiety, it may be due to OCD.
Treatment for OCD
People with OCD may be unsure about how to get help. Most OCD treatments use two approaches: behavioral therapy and medicinal management. In behavioral therapy, patients work with therapists to confront problematic thought patterns and anxieties. Psych Central lists the following types of behavioral therapy:
- Relaxation: Patients must learn this skill to apply throughout therapy and daily life. Examples of this technique include controlled breathing, thinking about calming imagery and intentionally relaxing the muscles.
- Systematic desensitization: Therapists expose patients to objects or experiences that increase anxiety, because these controlled exposures demand relaxation and coping skills for patients to heal
- Saturation: People think about a particular obsession for a specific period of time to weaken its power
- Thought-stopping: Patients train to identify and stop unwanted obsessive thoughts with specific actions, such as saying a word every time the thought occurs
People with OCD may also take antidepressants, which have helped people manage OCD symptoms.
Find Treatment for OCD
Obsessive compulsive disorder can be an overwhelming mental health issue, but professional help is available. Give us a call at 615-490-9376 to speak with an admissions coordinator about your treatment options.
You May Want to Know:
- FRN Research Report March/April 2014: Benefits of Dual Diagnosis Treatment: 2013 Patient Outcomes for Substance Use and Mental Health Disorders
- FRN Research Report October/November 2014: Helping Patients Remain in Treatment Supports Positive Long-Term Outcomes
- FRN Research Report November 2011: Improving Patient Mental Health Outcomes Up to One Year Post-Treatment at Michael’s House Treatment Center