Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is often portrayed as something humorous, with the person afflicted with it behaving in a silly manner as they try to follow some imaginary pattern or sequence that only they know of. People who have it though, will be the first to say that there is nothing humorous about the condition.
As of 2023, the National Institute of Mental Health (NMHI) has released data stating that OCD affects at least 1.2% of the US population, which translates into 2.5 million people. This is why there is a need for more programs that address the condition, much like the OCD treatment program in CA, which is one of the foremost efforts in the state relevant to the issue.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder is a long-lasting disorder where a person experiences uncontrollable, re-occurring intrusive thoughts known as obsessions and behaviors known as compulsions or both. This mental health disorder can affect people of all ages and from all walks of life. These intrusive thoughts, images, or urges trigger intensely distressing feelings and could be extremely disturbing to the person experiencing them.
While it is a mental health issue, OCD has a very physical component to it as the person simply cannot resist the obsessions or compulsions that persistently interfere with their thoughts and actions. It is this physical component, manifested through the abnormal behavior of the person, that typically identifies the individual as having OCD.
Unlike other forms of mental illness, people with OCD tend to follow a very specific pattern, which could be a series of actions that normal people do. However, in the case of someone with OCD, they tend to do it repeatedly and with such attention to detail that it could appear to be ritualistic. Our CBT therapy is proven to be an effective method to treat OCD.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is characterized by two main types of symptoms: obsessions and compulsions.
Much like the intrusive thoughts that plague a person brought on by obsessions, compulsions cannot be ignored nor denied, as they are simply too powerful and too persistent. It is not uncommon for the afflicted person to feel intense revulsion or even disgust at their own actions while following their compulsions. These compulsions could even get the person in trouble, as there are many instances where the compulsions lead the person to break the law just to satisfy the intense urge. As with obsessions, even the realization that the compulsions would lead to something illegal or illicit will not stop the person from doing it.
The intense compulsions brought on create a massive urge to act upon the emotional response generated by an obsession. This, however, is not just a simple reaction in response to an obsession but is done more to satisfy the compulsion. The reaction is unique in that it is carried out in a meticulous, careful, and delicate manner, making it far more complex than just a simple reaction. These compulsions prompt a person to engage in their “rituals” repeatedly, with people following their compulsions most of the day.
Obsessions are thoughts, images, or impulses that occur repeatedly. The worst part of this is that people with OCD realize that these thoughts are illogical, but are unable to do anything about it. Obsessions are usually accompanied by intense feelings such as fear, disgust, uncertainty, and doubt.
Common Examples of Obsessions in People with OCD:
- Fear of Contamination or Dirt: Some people with OCD have an intense fear of dirt, germs, or becoming contaminated in some way. This can lead to compulsive behaviors like excessive cleaning or handwashing.
- Needing Things Orderly and Symmetrical: Obsessions may include a need to have things arranged perfectly or discomfort with asymmetry.
- Aggressive or Horrific Thoughts: Some people may have obsessions involving harm coming to themselves or others. These can be quite distressing and can lead to compulsive behaviors intended to prevent imagined harm.
- Unwanted Thoughts, Including Aggression or Sexual or Religious Subjects: These obsessions often involve intrusive, unwanted, and distressing thoughts on taboo topics.
- Fear of Losing or Not Having Things You Might Need: This can lead to compulsions related to hoarding or saving items that most people would regard as useless or worthless.
- Excessive Doubt and the Need for Reassurance: The fear that you have or will make a mistake, forget something important, or fail to do something can lead to compulsions such as repeatedly checking things.
Remember, everyone has unwanted thoughts from time to time, but when these thoughts become persistent and distressing, it could be a sign of OCD.
Compulsions are the uncontrollable urges of the person to do things in a certain manner or adhere to a specific pattern or sequence. Should the person not be able to follow these urges, or if exposed to a situation where the pattern or sequence is disrupted, they may be severely distressed and do their best to try to “fix” the disruption.
Common Examples of Compulsions in People with OCD:
- Excessive Cleaning or Handwashing: This can be sparked by a fear of germs or contamination. People with this compulsion might wash their hands until they’re sore and chapped.
- Ordering and Arranging Things in a Particular Way: Some individuals may need things to be symmetrical or in perfect order. They might spend hours arranging books in a specific pattern or order.
- Checking: This could involve repeatedly checking doors to make sure they’re locked or checking the stove to ensure it’s off. It could also include rereading emails several times before sending them.
- Counting: Some people with OCD perform tasks a certain number of times or count to themselves to calm their anxieties.
- Hoarding: Fear of throwing away items, no matter how insignificant, due to a fear that something bad will happen if they do.
- Mental Rituals: These are compulsions that are performed mentally rather than physically, such as repeating certain words, phrases, or prayers in one’s mind.
Remember, it’s normal to double-check something once in a while or keep things tidy. However, when these behaviors become obsessive and interfere with daily life, it may be a sign of OCD.
Many people don’t really understand just how forceful and influential OCD can be in a person’s life. A person who suffers from the condition will likely struggle to live a life of good quality mainly because their minds and bodies keep getting hijacked by the uncontrollable thoughts and urges that OCD brings.
For most people who suffer from OCD, normal life is really not just possible, as they inevitably obey the dictates of the condition. We here at Alder Health offer an inpatient program and outpatient program in Orange County to help treat individuals for their mental health issues.
The exact causes of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder aren’t fully understood, but there are several theories about how the disorder may develop. It’s likely that a combination of genetic, neurobiological, cognitive, behavioral, and environmental factors contribute to the onset of the disorder.
- Genetics: Research suggests that genes play a role in the development of OCD. Individuals with first-degree relatives (such as a parent, sibling, or child) who have this mental illness are at a higher risk of developing the disorder themselves.
- Brain Structure and Functioning: Some studies have found differences in the frontal cortex and subcortical structures of the brain in people with OCD. There may also be differences in the way people process certain neurotransmitters like serotonin.
- Cognitive and Behavioral Factors: People with OCD often have a tendency toward overestimation of danger and an inflated sense of responsibility, which could contribute to obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors. Maladaptive beliefs, such as perfectionism and intolerance of uncertainty, can also contribute to symptoms.
- Environmental Triggers: Stressful life events, such as changes in living situations, school-related stress, or the death of a loved one, may trigger the onset of OCD in people who are genetically predisposed to the disorder.
- Childhood Trauma: Some research suggests that experiencing traumatic events in childhood may increase the risk of developing OCD.
It’s important to note that these are potential contributing factors and not direct causes. Many people exposed to these factors do not develop OCD, and many people with OCD may not have experienced these factors. Therefore, the development of OCD is likely due to a complex interplay of various genetic and environmental factors.
The treatment of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) often involves a combination of therapy, medication, and inpatient or outpatient treatment programs. Depending on the severity of the symptoms and the presence of co-occurring mental health disorders, different treatment approaches may be recommended.
Inpatient treatment is typically recommended for individuals with severe OCD symptoms that significantly interfere with their daily lives. The treatment involves staying at a specialized facility, such as Adler Health in Orange County, California, where patients receive round-the-clock care and support. Inpatient treatment usually includes a structured schedule of therapy sessions, educational classes, and group activities to help patients manage their symptoms and develop coping strategies.
Outpatient treatment allows individuals to live at home while receiving treatment for OCD. This can involve attending therapy sessions, group meetings, or medication management appointments at a clinic or hospital. Outpatient treatment can be a good option for those who have milder symptoms or have completed an inpatient program and need ongoing support.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), specifically Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP), is considered the most effective type of therapy for treating OCD. ERP involves gradually exposing patients to their fears or obsessions and teaching them to resist obsessive thoughts and the urge to perform compulsions. Over time, this can help reduce the power of these compulsive behavioral patterns over a person’s life.
Several types of medications can be used to treat OCD, including selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs). These medications can help reduce the intensity of obsessions and compulsions. However, they are usually most effective when used in conjunction with therapy.
OCD often co-occurs with other mental health disorders, such as depression, anxiety disorders, and eating disorders. If this is the case, a dual diagnosis treatment approach is needed. This involves treating both OCD and other mental health conditions simultaneously. Dual diagnosis treatment often involves a combination of medication, therapy, and inpatient or outpatient treatment.
Even in this day and age, the matter of mental health is still a topic that many still don’t readily discuss, particularly if it involves mental illness of any sort. This evasion of the matter simply adds to the difficulty, which is why we here at Adler Health make a point to address, discuss, and ultimately help people with mental health treatment in Orange County with their mental health issues. There is hope for people looking for help with mental health issues, and all it takes is a visit to our facility. Talk to us now.