WHAT IS OBSESSIVE-COMPULSIVE DISORDER?
As its name implies, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder combines obsessive thoughts (uncontrollable thoughts that continually intrude, disrupting regular thought processes) with compulsive behaviors (repetitive behaviors performed in a set order or according to set rituals, such as counting, checking, washing, etc.).
Often, obsessive thinking can center on fears of harm coming to oneself or to others, such as fears about being exposed to germs, contracting a disease, or making mistakes. These thoughts can be highly disturbing, producing anxiety that can only be alleviated by performing the compulsive behavior.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF OBSESSIVE-COMPULSIVE DISORDER?
OCD can be challenging to diagnose, since many times individuals are reluctant to share their disturbing thoughts, and perform their compulsive behaviors in private. These thoughts and behaviors, as well as the anxiety that may arise if the behaviors are interrupted, are the primary indications of OCD. People with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder are most likely to find relief when they are able to share their troubling thoughts and behaviors with a trained professional.
COULD YOU BE SUFFERING FROM OBSESSIVE-COMPULSIVE DISORDER?
It’s best to work in partnership with a professional to determine whether you may be suffering from OCD. Your healthcare provider can guide the discussion with questions such as the following:
Have you ever been bothered by thoughts that didn’t make sense, yet kept coming into your mind even when you tried not to have them?
Was there ever anything you had to do over and over again and could not resist doing, like repeatedly washing your hands, counting to a certain number, or checking on a task several times to make sure you’d done it right?
HOW IS OBSESSIVE-COMPULSIVE DISORDER TREATED?
Both cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and medications such as SSRIs are commonly employed to address OCD. Although it may not be possible to completely eliminate OCD’s symptoms and related behaviors, substantial improvements can be possible with treatment. To learn more about CBT and medications such as SSRIs, visit Know your treatment options.