Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD Treatment)
What is Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)?
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a disorder in the anxiety family. In short, it involves having obsessive thinking patterns. These can often include unwanted thoughts, images, or urges that make a person feel anxious or distressed. Many times, individuals who have OCD often have major difficulty pushing away or ignoring these thoughts. In addition to these issues, those with OCD also have compulsive behaviors or rituals. In many cases, these are an attempt to reverse the obsessive thoughts or urges by performing some sort of action.
What are Obsessions?
Obsessions are anxious thoughts, images, and urges that can be intense and overwhelming. In other words, it's like having a laser focus on something except that obsessions are often unwanted. In fact, obsessions are generally unwanted and cause a variety of intense feelings. These may include feelings such as:
- And a morbid disturbance
Obsessions can appear to be nonstop. These obsessions can add to the feelings of helplessness and being overwhelmed. Because of this, obsessions can be time-consuming and distracting without the support of OCD treatment. In the end, obsessions rob a person of peace, time, and well-being.
Types of Obsessions
The fear of contamination leads to unwanted obsessions with:
- Bodily fluids (feces or urine)
- Cleaning chemicals (bleach, household cleaners, detergent)
- Soap and hand sanitizer
The fear of being imperfect leads to unwanted obsessions with:
- Being correct
- Test scores and grades
The fear of harming others or self leads to unwanted obsessions of:
- Harming others through neglect (leaving baby in a car, setting the house on fire)
- "Snapping" and suddenly becoming a killer
- Causing bad things to happen without knowing
- Being responsible for the pain or misfortune of others
- Committing crimes against people
Unwanted Sexual Thoughts
The fear of having unwanted sexual thoughts leads to obsessions with:
- Perverse or forbidden sexual contact or images
- Sexual contact or incest with children
- Aggressive sexual behavior
- Sexual orientation
The fear of not being morally "good enough" leads to obsessions with:
- Religious sacraments
- Keeping traditions
- The appearance of evil
- Being "right" with God
- The Bible
What are Compulsions?
Compulsions are unwanted repetitive actions or rituals the brain uses to quiet or stop the intrusion of obsessions. For example, think of scratching and itching. The itch is the obsession and the scratch is the compulsion. What happens when you scratch an itch? You satisfy the itch for a moment and you feel comforted. However, the problem is that it's not long before you itch again - even more intensely! Compulsions, or rituals, tend to be not only counterproductive but also reinforcing. As a result, the more you perform rituals, the more the brain becomes conditioned to keep doing it because of the momentary relief. That's why ending the cycle of obsessing and ritualizing is so difficult to break.
Types of Compulsions
- Cleaning house or surfaces excessively and without feeling clean
- Washing laundry multiple times before use
- Excessive and repetitive grooming and hygiene routines
- Washing hands until they are raw or bleeding
- Brushing teeth until gums are raw or bleeding
- Repeating activities or gestures certain numeric multiples (3's, 5's, 10's, etc.)
- Repeating routine movements (turning on lights, locking/unlocking doors, crossing door thresholds)
- Repeating body movements (snapping fingers, tapping, blinking, clicking sounds with mouth)
- Rewriting or rereading
Checking many things (many times)
- Locks on automobiles or at home
- Checking that you did not harm anyone
- Checking things are not out of place
- Looking for mistakes
Mental (Pure-Obsession a.k.a. "Pure-O")
- Praying that you won't hurt someone or yourself
- Counting to preferred number(s) when doing a task
- Replaying events multiple times to reassure that you did not hurt someone/yourself
- Online researching ("Do I have OCD?," "Am I a psychopath?," "Do I have brain cancer?")
- Looking for reassurance
- Avoiding anxiety-provoking situations
OCD Treatment in Atlanta, GA
Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP)
Exposure and Response Prevention is the gold standard of treatment for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). ERP is a form of Cognitive therapy. It focuses on how the mind views anxiety and works on reprogramming the brain’s response to it. In OCD treatment, a skilled ERP therapist works on exposing your mind to the stress of NOT performing compulsive rituals and desensitizing you from that stress. Then this allows your responses, usually avoidance or control, to change. In the end, this change allows you to live with more freedom. All without having to perform rituals to ease the stress associated with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). If one or more of the above symptoms resonates with you, we encourage you to look into OCD treatment via ERP with us today.
Begin OCD Treatment in Atlanta, GA
Overcoming your compulsions is much easier said than done. Our team of therapists would be happy to offer support from our Atlanta, GA-based therapy practice. We would be happy to help equip you with the tools to cope with obsessive tendencies. To start your therapy journey, please follow these simple steps:
- Contact North Atlanta Psychotherapy
- Meet with a caring therapist
- Start overcoming your anxiety symptoms!
Other Services Offered with North Atlanta Psychotherapy
We are happy to offer a variety of services from our Atlanta, G-based therapy practice. OCD treatment isn't the only service offered, and our team is happy to also offer depression therapy, anxiety therapy, play therapy, and grief counseling. We also provide support for men, couples, teens, and children. Feel free to also learn more about how we can support those with bipolar disorder and infertility. Or, visit our blog to learn more today!