Disturbing, intrusive thoughts make life hard. We can help you make them stop.
What is OCD?
OCD is characterized by cycles of persistent, disturbing thoughts, images or impulses (obsessions) followed by ritualized behaviors (compulsions) intended to counteract the obsessions. These cycles consume a lot of time and get in the way of important activities.
People with OCD don’t want to have disturbing thoughts and often recognize that they don’t make sense. The thoughts generally are accompanied by intense and uncomfortable feelings, such as fear, disgust, doubt, or a sense that things have to be done “just right,” that get in the way of daily functioning. People with OCD often realize that their compulsions offer only temporary relief from the intrusive thoughts. However, without more effective coping skills, compulsions may offer the only escape they can find.
Symptoms of OCD
- Constant, irrational worry about dirt, germs, or contamination
- Excessive concern with order, arrangement, or symmetry
- Fear of harm or danger to a loved one or self
- Excessive concern with religious rules or rituals
- Intrusive words or sounds
- Fear of losing something valuable
- Distressing thoughts about sex or violence
- Washing and rewashing hands to avoid exposure to germs
- Arranging or ordering objects in a very specific way
- Checking and rechecking objects, information or situations
- Repeating a name, phrase, tune, activity or prayer
- Hoarding or saving useless items
- Counting objects such as steps
- Seeking reassurance or doing things until they seem just right
What Causes OCD?
While the exact causes of OCD are unknown, factors such as brain differences, genetics and the environment may play a role. Research suggests that OCD involves communication problems between the front part of the brain and deeper structures of the brain. Behavior also may be learned from watching family members or from observing other factors in the environment.
Treatment for OCD
Treatment for OCD may include:
- Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) – CBT is a type of psychotherapy that helps people cope with and change problematic thoughts, behaviors and emotions. It can break the bond between anxiety and compulsions by teaching people to tolerate intrusive thoughts without enacting compulsions.
- Medication – Anti-anxiety or antidepressant medicines modify brain chemistry to reduce anxiety.
- TMS – Transcranial magnetic stimulation is a non-invasive treatment that uses electromagnetic pulses to stimulate nerve cells in the brain to improve symptoms of OCD.
Why Seek Help for OCD?
OCD takes time and energy away from school, work, family, friends and recreation. It is severely distressing to those suffering from it and also difficult for the people around them, who may feel like they must walk on eggshells to avoid creating further discomfort. OCD doesn’t just go away on its own and may worsen if left untreated.
If you suspect that you or someone you love suffers from OCD, contact Athena Care today.
One of our friendly associates will help you get the help you need. Take this first step to feel better and take control.