Do you worry about the same things over and over again?
Have you found yourself doing the same thing multiple times to help relieve your anxiety?
Were you diagnosed with OCD in the past?
Sometimes it feels like you aren't completely in charge of your own thoughts and actions. It's like you're trapped in an endless cycle of recurring distressing thoughts. You are constantly engaging in specific behaviors or patterns (even if it's just a pattern of thoughts or self reassurance) to help alleviate your anxiety. That might help for a little while, but then the distressing thoughts come back. You know that your worries are unrealistic and you tell yourself that your compulsions (things you do repetitively to ease your anxiety) are unnecessary...but the more you try to stop the worse your anxiety gets.
Life with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) can be frustrating and exhausting. The good news is that counseling can help. The clinical psychologists at Wellness Psychological Services can help you get to the root cause of your obsessive thoughts, find new ways to cope and find ways to stop the cycle of compulsive behaviors so you can get your life back.
What is Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)?
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder. There are two primary components to OCD: the presence of recurring, unwanted thoughts or ideas call obsessions & actions the person feels driven to do repeatedly in order to relieve a sense or urgency or anxiety called compulsions. Both the obsessive thoughts and the compulsive, repetitive behaviors can interfere with a person's daily life. These thoughts and routines are rigid and very hard to change without the help of a skilled mental health professional.
Obsessions are persistent, unwanted thoughts or images that get stuck in a person's head. Someone with OCD may know that the obsessions aren't true, or at least are not likely, yet they have trouble shifting their focus away from the thoughts. A person with OCD may try to ignore the thoughts or reason with the thoughts, but obsessions cannot be "reasoned" away. Obsessive thoughts are often distressing such as thoughts about being contaminated, forbidden sexual thoughts, the need for things to be exactly right or religious thoughts.
Compulsions are behaviors or mental acts/reassurances a person with OCD does in order to help relieve the anxiety or make the obsessive thoughts subside. Often called a ritual, a person with OCD feels driven to repeatedly engage in the compulsion. A person often feels relief after they have engaged in the compulsion, but the thoughts and anxious feelings eventually return. For instance, someone with contamination OCD may feel better after washing their hands but only a short time later will feel driven to once again return to the sink. Similar to with obsession, the person with OCD may logically know that the compulsions are irrational. However, the need to engage in the behavior can feel very strong and it can cause them great distress to not repeat the compulsion. The help of a skilled mental health professional is often a very important component of helping someone stop engaging in their compulsions.
Purely Obsessional OCD
Purely Obsessional OCD, also known as Pure O, is a specific type of OCD that our psychologists often treat. Individuals living with this type of OCD have compulsions that are hidden and not obvious to the outside world. The rituals are happen internally rather than externally. Therefore, Purely Obsessional OCD might be less noticeable than other forms of OCD but is still incredibly stressful and can sometimes interfere with a person's day to day living. In fact, a person with Pure OCD may go years without seeking help or may try to participate in traditional anxiety treatment without much success.
In Pure OCD, obsessions might include similar repeated, intrusive thoughts or images to traditional OCD. Compulsions in Pure OCD include repetitive mental rituals a person performs to decrease distress such as seeking reassurance, counting or answer seeking. Because these cognitive rituals are more hidden and individuals with Pure OCD tend to be very high functioning, it's easier to overlook or misdiagnosis. If you feel like you have Purely Obsessional OCD it is important to work with a mental health provider who is experienced treating this unique form of OCD.
Counseling Can Help
You don't have to live with obsessive thoughts or a constant need to engage in rituals. Through counseling with a skilled mental health professional you can find freedom from your OCD symptoms. Our therapists can help you learn to not give into compulsions, accept uncertainty and to challenge intrusive thoughts.
Typical OCD Treatment
Perhaps what you've been reading sounds familiar. You are worried you or someone you care about has OCD. You are looking for freedom from the invasive thoughts (obsessions) and want to quiet your need to engage in rituals or behaviors (compulsions) to reduce your anxiety. But you aren't sure what to expect. What does OCD treatment entail?
While every person's journey to cope with OCD symptoms is a little bit different because each person is different, our trained clinical psychologists are trained in specific interventions that research shows are very effective for OCD. Our psychologists typically use Exposure Response Prevention (ERP) and/or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) to help target your obsessions and teach you to stop your compulsions in their tracks!