Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) can show up in infinite ways, and can at times be hard for individuals to put a label to. One large misconception associated with OCD is in defining compulsive behavior. OCD is commonly labeled as other anxiety disorders, without recognizing the more camouflaged ways in which individuals react to their obsessions. If you are one of those individuals feeling like anxiety does not fully explain your experience, let a therapist at Mindful Living Psychological Services help provide you with more information at the tools to manage obsessive thoughts.
Symptoms of OCD
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is categorized by persistent and unwanted thoughts, images, and urges as well as behaviors taken to avoid or suppress them. This avoidance may look like repetitive behaviors such as hand washing, researching whether your experience is "normal", and asking for reassurance. Avoidance can also be more internal and covert such as ruminating about your thoughts and avoiding possible triggers of obsessive thoughts. Some of the common obsessions associated with OCD are broken down into categories including contamination, harm to self or others, sexual orientation, relationships, pedophilia, and religion.
Treatment for OCD
Similarly to other anxiety disorders, an important first step in treating Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is information and understanding. It is important to have a basic understanding of what OCD is (and isn't), and how it shows up in your life.
Some of the most effective treatments for OCD include Exposure and Response Prevention, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. The common thread in all of these treatments is confronting the thoughts that scare you. Your therapist may encourage you to talk about your obsessive thoughts in session or intentionally explore them outside of session. Keep in mind that any recommended intervention at Mindful Living Psychological Services will be individualized to you, your goals, and at a speed that feels challenging yet doable.
Exposure and Response Prevention
Exposure and Response Prevention is one of the leading interventions for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and one of the treatments offered at Mindful Living Psychological Services. The theory behind this treatment is that the thing causing obsessions to feel so distressing is the avoidance of them. This treatment helps individuals confront their obsessions, challenging them to move away from their compulsion and sit with the discomfort. While this may seem scary at first, your therapist can help you take small steps towards decreasing compulsive behavior. For example, your therapist may ask you to delay or reduce your compulsive behavior rather than cutting it out completely all at once.
For more information about OCD, read through the information provided by the International OCD Foundation.
The OCD Stories Podcast