What is OCD?
OCD or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is a common and chronic disorder that can be long-lasting. A person has uncontrollable, recurring thoughts they obsess over or behaviors that he or she feels an urge to repeat over and over. These thoughts and images trigger intense distress for the individual. If you know someone with OCD, it’s essential to know these symptoms and understand what they are going through.
When a person with OCD has an obsession, they have repeated thoughts, urges, or mental images that cause them anxiety. Obsessions are typically accompanied by intense and uncomfortable feelings such as despair, repugnance, uncertainty, or a feeling that things have to be done in a specific way. Obsessive behavior includes fear of germs, unwanted or forbidden taboo studies involving sex, religion, or harm. They may also have aggressive thoughts towards others or themself.
Compulsion is the second part of the OCD disorder and is repetitive behaviors that a person with OCD feels the urge to do in response to an obsessive thought. In comparison, we all have some sort of routine or ritual that we do, for example, bedtime or morning routines. The difference for someone with OCD is they don’t want to have to do these behaviors as they get no reward from it, and it can be very time-consuming and even tortuous for them as they can spend an hour repeating the same behavior. With OCD, compulsive behavior is acted on to try to escape or reduce anxiety or the presence of obsessions. However, most people who have OCD recognize this is a temporary fix but does provide some relief.
Some people who have OCD have a tic disorder. This gives them sudden, brief, or repetitive movements such as eye blinking and other eye movements. This may also include facial grimacing, shoulder shrugging, and head and shoulder jerking.
Sometimes symptoms can come and go; they may ease over time or worsen. Because the symptoms are harder to deal with, those diagnosed with OCD may try to help themselves by avoiding situations that trigger their obsessions or may use alcohol or recreational/prescribed drugs to calm themselves. Many diagnosed with OCD can recognize their behavior. However, some don’t realize their behavior is associated with OCD, especially in children.
Most who are diagnosed with OCD can get treatment through therapy and medication. Though some will still experience symptoms. Therapy is helpful because some who suffer from OCD have other mental illnesses like anxiety and depression. Additionally, psychotherapy is another option. Research shows that cognitive-behavioral therapy or CBT, or related therapies can be as effective as medication.
If you know someone struggling with it and want to help, it’s imperative to understand that they can’t help their behavior. Find them the right doctor and support them throughout their journey. You can try to find a clinical study near you to help them find the right treatment. Don’t give up hope, remain patient and keep doing research and finding the best direction for them.
Dr. Steffanie Stecker a licensed psychologist and the owner and clinical director of Mountain Vista Psychology, PLLC.
In addition, she is a board certified neurotherapist (BCN E5669) and board certified in QEEG (QEEG-D). Less than 100 people world wide are board certified in QEEG, which indicates competency in reading QEEGs and choosing neurofeedback protocols. Dr. Stecker is passionate about brain based effective therapy and creating a safe relationship for her clients to create change. She loves what she gets to do each day!