OCD is a debilitating disorder where clients have intrusive thoughts or worries that cause severe distress and they engage in compulsive behaviors or acts in order to reduce the stress accrued from the thoughts. Even though OCD is colloquially (and incorrectly!) used to describe someone who is particular and very tidy, OCD can be a very severe, debilitating, and distressing issue that can completely derail a person’s life. People that suffer from OCD can have intrusive thoughts or worries relating to just about anything, but some common themes include self harm, harm to others, illness and germs, their sexual orientation, their gender identity, their relationships… you get the idea. OCD can, and often does, attack a person’s most closely held values.
No! OCD is a mental health disorder that is ego dystonic. That means that it is not in line with the values that a person has and is very distressing to them. The intrusive thoughts you have don’t mean anything or say anything about you.
Yes, absolutely. While OCD is a chronic disorder, there is a lot of evidence that demonstrates that the gold standard for treatment, which is called Exposure Response Prevention (ERP), can very significantly improve the quality of life of an OCD sufferer. The way this treatment works is by providing the individual exposure, either real or imagined, to something that is collaboratively identified and crafted by the individual and the therapist. The client then acknowledges the anxiety and prevents themselves from engaging in the compulsive behavior that they have utilized to reduce their anxiety in the past. This treatment is both highly effective and considered to be evidenced-based, which means that research has proved that it has significant impacts on the client’s symptoms.
“Pure O” OCD is a subset of OCD that is unique in that the compulsive behaviors that the person engages in are purely mental or in their head. That does not mean that the compulsion does not exist, it is just something that you cannot witnessed from the outside. Some examples of Pure O compulsions are excessive rumination, combing through details of recent events or conversations, avoidance of people and situations, and checking for physical symptoms. Pure O, just like any other type of OCD, can be debilitating and prevent the client from fully engaging in their life.
But the good news is that there is hope! ERP, which is a service we offer, can radically change a client’s life. If you think this could be helpful for you, schedule a session today!
Yes! The gold standard for OCD is ERP, regardless of the theme that is accompanying a person’s symptoms. That being said, there are some cases of OCD where a higher level of care, such as an intensive outpatient program or inpatient treatment, may be indicated. That being said, an assessment of the symptoms and the way they impact your life will be completed in the first session and we will have a conversation with you about what treatment methods we might employ or refer you to. We are also happy to work collaboratively with a psychiatrist in your care (with your consent, of course!). If a higher level of care is indicated, we will let you know and help you in getting connected with some referrals.
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International OCD Foundation →