Obsessive-compulsive disorder, or OCD, affects millions of Americans each year, both adults and children. OCD is an anxiety disorder that impacts behavior and thoughts. It might include being overly neat and organized, perfectionistic, and unable to stop compulsively doing certain behaviors. Understanding OCD, its signs and symptoms, and what treatments are available can help you or a loved one struggling with this disorder.
What Is OCD?
OCD is an anxiety disorder that causes people to have unwanted, intrusive thoughts and engage in compulsive behaviors. It is often characterized by an inability to resist impulses or engaging in repetitive behavior.
What Causes OCD?
The cause of OCD is unknown, though it is likely a combination of biological and environmental factors. Some research suggests that OCD might have genetic components, while others point to problems in some regions of the brain.
Symptoms of OCD
OCD symptoms include a specific type of unwanted thoughts, called obsession and compulsions, that people with OCD feel they must do to manage anxiety. Anxiety is the root of obsessions and compulsions. These obsessions and compulsions of OCD can have any or all of the following characteristics:
- Unwanted thoughts that are not controllable
- Often have a theme around dirt or germs
- Focused on arranging things to appear symmetrical
- Upsetting or distressing
- Behaviors that include obsessive thoughts or distressing feelings
- Related to obsessions, including hand-washing
- Relieves anxiety only briefly, then builds and starts over again
- Obvious to others which creates embarrassment and shame but cannot control the behavior
Even though it is common for people to experience some mild obsessions or compulsions during times of stress, OCD is not the same as having a once-in-a-while habit. The important part of OCD, as defined by clinical professionals, is how it interferes with a person’s everyday life. If a significant interruption occurs, or some OCD obsessions and compulsions require one or more hours per day to manage, it may be time to seek help.
Treatment for OCD
OCD is treatable with the right interventions. A primary care physician may diagnose OCD, but if doubts and complexities arise, a person may be referred to a psychiatrist. Effective treatments do exist. This may include:
- Medications known to be effective in easing symptoms of OCD, including antidepressants such as:
- fluvoxamine (Luvox®)
- fluoxetine (Prozac®)
- sertraline (Zoloft®)
- paroxetine (Paxil®)
- citalopram (Celexa®)*
- clomipramine (Anafranil®)
- escitalopram (Lexapro®)
- venlafaxine (Effexor®)
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) in which a person learns to regain control of thoughts
- Additional evidence-based therapeutic approaches as determined by physicians and therapists.
OCD can be a debilitating mental illness, but even in severe cases, there are reasons to be hopeful and optimistic. People with OCD can feel better and function well with compassionate support and professional treatment.
Reach Out to The Arbor for Help Understanding OCD
If you or a loved one are struggling with OCD, do not wait to seek professional treatment and help in understanding OCD. There are treatment options available that include medication, therapy, and other holistic approaches.
The experienced clinicians at The Arbor are here to provide compassionate care and support. Our goal is to create an individualized treatment plan tailored to you or your loved one’s needs so that they can reach the full potential of their recovery.
Arbor Behavioral Healthcare knows lifetime sobriety, health, and wellness are possible. Each of our treatment programs offers the opportunity for holistic healing utilizing an integrative approach for the recovery of mind, body, and spirit. You can recover. You will recover. Call us today for more information at 844.413.2690 or reach out online.