Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

What is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, commonly referred to as OCD? The International OCD Foundation describes OCD as a mental health disorder that affects people of all ages and walks of life occurring when a person gets caught in a cycle of obsessions (unwanted intrusive thoughts, images or urges that trigger intensely distressing feelings) and compulsions (behaviors engaged in to attempt to get rid of the distressing obsessions). Perspectives of Troy has trained therapists who offer Traditional Outpatient therapy services and hope to those seeking treatment for OCD symptoms.

Here is one way to think about what having OCD is like:

Imagine that your mind got stuck
on a certain thought or image…
Then this thought or image got replayed in your mind
over and
over again
no matter what you did…

You don’t want these thoughts — it feels like an avalanche…

Along with the thoughts come intense feelings of anxiety…
Anxiety is your brain’s alarm system.  When you feel anxious, it feels like you are in danger.  Anxiety is an emotion that tells you to respond, react, protect yourself,
DO SOMETHING!

On the one hand, you might recognize that the fear doesn’t make sense, doesn’t seem reasonable, yet it still feels very real, intense, and true…

  • Why would your brain lie?
  • Why would you have these feelings if they weren’t true? Feelings don’t lie…  Do they?

Unfortunately, if you have OCD, they do lie.  If you have OCD, the warning system may be over active.  Your brain is telling you that you are in danger when you are not.

When scientists compare pictures of the brains of groups of people with OCD, they can see that some areas of the brain are different than the brains of people who don’t have OCD.

Those tortured with OCD are desperately trying to get away from paralyzing, unending anxiety…

Note: Unlike adults, children may not always recognize that their symptoms are senseless or that their compulsions are excessive. They also involve their family members in their rituals. They may for example insist family members wash their hands a certain way, or ask parents to repeatedly check their homework.

Who gets OCD? It can start at any time from preschool to adulthood. OCD generally first appears between the ages of 8 and 12, or between the late teen years and early adulthood. Estimates are that in the United States about 1 in 100 adults and 1 in 200 kids and teens currently have OCD.

How is OCD diagnosed? Therapists will look for three criteria:

  • The person has obsessions.
  • He or she does compulsive behaviors.
  • The obsessions and compulsions take a lot of time and get in the way of important activities that the person values, such as working, going to school, or spending time with friends.

How is OCD treated? Treatment for most OCD patients should involve Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) and/or medication.

Call Perspectives Counseling Centers to set up an appointment at 248-244-8644.

For more information about OCD visit: iocdf.org