OCD: What Is It and How Is It Treated?

OCD: What Is It? How Is It Treated? (children)

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a mental health disorder. 

It is comprised of a cycle of obsessions and compulsions

Obsessions are unwanted thoughts that are very intrusive, and compulsions are the actions that one does in order to try and quell the unwanted thoughts. 

That can be anything from washing hands repetitively, to checking the locks on doors. 

Now, while most people in the world actually do have some intrusive thoughts at one point or another, and even some compulsions, too. 

However, they are able to go about their daily activities with little to no problem at all. 

For those living with OCD, it can be difficult to perform daily tasks without the OCD thoughts and compulsions interrupting their life. 

Anxiety can mount, and it can get to the point where people who are living with the disorder don't even want to leave their homes. 

That is why it is important to get help if you think you or someone that you know may be living with the condition. 

It is a very treatable condition. Read on to learn more about OCD and how it is treated. 

Available OCD Counselors in Colorado

Arias Gonzales, MS, LPCC

Vulnerability is the birthplace of love...

, Colorado

(719) 345-2424

About Obsessions

Obsessions are thoughts that are persistent and reoccurring. 

They often strike fear into the minds of those that get them. 

They are unwanted and intrusive and those with OCD are often disturbed and upset by these thoughts. 

They evoke feelings of repulsion, disgust, and doubt when they strike. 

People who have the condition normally realize that these thoughts and compulsions do not make any sense. 

However, they feel powerless against them both. 

With obsessions, they are mental pictures, thoughts, and impulses that are completely out of character for the person experiencing them. 

They are "ego-dystonic" thoughts, meaning its the furthest from the person's nature. 

That is what makes them so very distressing. 

Some typical obsessions may include:

- Contamination fear/fear of germs

- Being afraid of blurting out expletives in public

- Being highly concerned with symmetry

- "Forbidden" or "taboo" topics 

- Unwanted sexual thoughts or images

- Fear of losing something important 

Oftentimes, with these obsessions, one will try to do anything to keep those thoughts at bay. 

Many will try to distract themselves, suppress the thoughts (which most times just makes them worse), and then of course, they perform compulsions to try and calm their mind down. 

About Compulsions

Compulsions are the actions that go hand-in-hand with obsessions. 

They are repetitive behaviors that someone feels the need to perform in order to quell the obsession. 

For those living with OCD, these compulsions may keep the thoughts at bay for a few moments. 

But they are certain to come back. 

Some compulsions may directly relate to the obsession that was occurring. 

For example, if one had a fear of germs and contagions, then one of the compulsions may be to wash hands repeatedly, over and over again. 

It becomes a vicious cycle of obsessions and compulsions that just go back and forth, over and over again. 

Some common compulsions can include:

- Performing tasks in a specific way or for a certain number of times

- Counting things like steps

- Ritualized handwashing

- Obsessive cleaning 

Compulsions like this that are repeated over and over in a single day can cause significant disruptions in daily life, even going so far as to affect employment and relationships, too. 

Purely Obsessional OCD

Purely Obsessional OCD, also known as "Pure O," is a form of OCD that is primarily made up of unwanted and extremely intrusive thoughts. 

These thoughts can become disabling for people who suffer from this. 

While physical compulsions are absent in this type of OCD, there are mental compulsions that are usually done in order to try anything and everything to help those thoughts go away. 

With "Pure O," there are different types of thoughts that one may experience. 

They are described in this article

There Is Hope

If you are currently experiencing symptoms of OCD, it is recommended that you see a psychiatrist to get a formal diagnosis. 

They will be able to recommend to you what they think will help the best with it, whether that is medicine and a combination of therapy, or just one of those at a time. 

There is hope to help you live peacefully with your OCD. 

There are workbooks, books, groups, and different types of therapies that can help. 

You do not have to sit and suffer in silence any longer. 

A good starting point may be talk therapy if you are unsure if you have OCD symptoms or not. 

Speaking with a licensed counselor can help you to figure out if you are dealing with OCD, or something else. 

They will listen to you, and from the descriptors of your thoughts and behavior might suspect it, but will urge you to see a psychiatrist to be sure. 

If OCD has affected other things in your life, like relationships, perhaps couples counseling may help both you and your partner learn more about your condition and how they can better help you. 

Overall, there are plenty of treatments available to help with OCD symptoms, and some you can even do with your counselor. 

They will help give you techniques, tools, and tricks to help your brain realize that these thoughts and compulsions aren't actually you. 

Conclusion

Obsessive-compulsive disorder is a mental health condition, yes, but it is something that can be treated with a combination of different things

Your psychiatrist may want you to try a medication to see how it may affect your OCD, and if it lessens its symptoms. 

They may also recommend talk therapy for you. 

We have specially trained counselors that know the ins and outs of OCD and can help you navigate the path towards effectively managing OCD symptoms. 

You can see a full list of our counselors by clicking here. 

If you are ready to speak to someone, please call us at (719) 345-2424 and a scheduler will assist you in setting up an appointment with one of our counselors. 

Resources 

https://www.verywellmind.com/pure-o-primarily-obsessional-ocd-4159144

https://iocdf.org/about-ocd/

https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/ocd/what-is-obsessive-compulsive-disorder

https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/obsessive-compulsive-disorder

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