What is OCD?
OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder) is a condition in which people have persistent, unwelcome thoughts, ideas, or feelings (obsessions) that compel them to carry out repetitive actions or rituals (compulsions).
There are lots of people who have tendencies towards obsessive thoughts or compulsive behaviors, but as a rule, these don’t interfere with their ability to carry on a normal life. Being compulsively neat and tidy, for example, often has benefits rather than being a problem, as long as your compulsions don’t start taking over.
If you have OCD, unwanted thoughts won’t go away and can cause significant distress. The compulsive behaviors often arise as a coping mechanism for dealing with the obsessive thoughts, but end up causing further distress if you can’t complete your rituals in precisely the right way.
What obsessions and compulsions are most common?
Obsessions can develop over anything in your life or that catches your attention, but OCD obsessions are typically unpleasant or frightening, and often seem out of character. Taboo subjects are often the focus of obsessions.
Common types of obsessions include:
- Infection or contamination
- Symmetry or precision
- Sexual acts
- Religious ideas
When these obsessions don’t go away, the distress can lead you to try and control your feelings using activities that you feel you have to carry out.
Compulsions can take the form of any repetitive action, but common examples include switching lights on and off a set number of times, washing until your skin starts to bleed, and having to repeatedly check the door lock when leaving the house.
How is OCD treated?
Logic and reason don’t work on OCD. You might be unable to accept that what you’re obsessed with isn’t real despite evidence of the truth, which is known as poor insight. Or you might be well aware that your obsessions aren’t factual, and still be unable to prevent yourself from carrying out compulsive actions.
Therapy is vital for people who have OCD. Approaches like CBT (cognitive-behavioral therapy), can help reduce the extremes of OCD. CBT enables you to regain control of your thoughts and create strategies to help you cope with the problems you come across in everyday life.
One-to-one psychotherapy at Gwinnett Psychiatry can uncover underlying causes for the development of OCD so that you can work through these issues. You might also need to take medication, such as anti-anxiety or antidepressant drugs, which can help rebalance your brain chemistry.
Gwinnett Psychiatry also offers other innovative therapies for OCD if you’re still struggling, such as ketamine infusion therapy, transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR).
If you need help because your obsessions and compulsions are dominating your mind, call us today or book an appointment online.