OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder)

SpotLyte Behavioral Health -  - Behavioral Health

SpotLyte Behavioral Health

Behavioral Health & Therapy Services located in Downingtown, PA

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) affects every aspect of your life. If you or a loved one is struggling with obsessive thoughts or compulsions, the team at SpotLyte Behavioral Health in Downingtown, can help. With a team of mental health professionals, the practice offers a variety of treatments for OCD, including therapy and medication. To schedule an appointment with an experienced mental health professional, call SpotLyte Behavioral Health or book online now.

OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) Q & A

What is OCD? 

OCD is a mental health disorder that causes obsessive thoughts and behaviors. Those with OCD often experience unwanted fears and repetitive behaviors. Ignoring these obsessions and behaviors can increase your anxiety and lead to significant distress. 

While completing these repetitions may temporarily relieve stress and anxiety, they typically lead to more ritualistic behavior that continues the cycle.

Not everybody experiences compulsions with OCD. Some have obsessive thoughts without compulsions, while others suffer from compulsions with no obsessions.

Pure O OCD

Many individuals suffer from Pure O, a form of OCD that almost exclusively causes intrusive and uncontrollable thoughts (obsessions). These unwanted thoughts can be all-consuming and debilitating.

Just right OCD

Alternatively, some individuals experience a form of OCD called “just right OCD.” Less common than Pure O, “just right OCD” causes intense physical or psychological discomfort that many individuals feel can only be relieved through compulsive behaviors.

What are the symptoms of OCD?

Most individuals with OCD have a combination of obsessions and compulsions that are difficult to ignore. Over time, these compulsions can interfere with your daily life. 

At first, you may not realize they’re time-consuming or unreasonable. However, obsessive compulsions ultimately impact your ability to function at work, school, or even at home.

While OCD symptoms can manifest in many different ways, there are common themes among the compulsions. These include:

  • Needing things to be symmetrical or orderly
  • Fear of germs or contamination
  • Increasing levels of stress when things are organized
  • Needing to touch objects a certain amount of times
  • Avoiding physical contact with others (shaking hands, etc.)

Some individuals with OCD frequently picture unpleasant sexual images or have unwanted thoughts about screaming or shouting in public. Constantly washing your hands, counting, and checking locks are common signs of OCD.

What causes OCD?

While experts don’t know the exact cause of OCD, they believe biology and genetics play a significant role in its development. Other risk factors for OCD include:

  • A family history of OCD
  • A family history of mental illness
  • Traumatic experiences
  • Physical or sexual abuse during childhood

Many individuals with OCD learn their compulsions from watching a close family member, such as a parent, with the same tics.

How is OCD diagnosed?

Only trained mental health professionals have the training and experience to diagnose OCD. A trained psychiatrist, clinical psychologist, clinical social worker, psychiatric nurse practitioner, or licensed professional counselor can deliver the right diagnosis.

Before diagnosing OCD, the team at SpotLyte Behavioral Health may request a full physical exam to rule out an underlying condition that may be contributing to your symptoms. 

Next, the team reviews your medical history and compares your symptoms with criteria in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), published by the American Psychiatric Association.

A comprehensive psychological evaluation is also necessary to determine whether your obsessions and compulsions are interfering with your ability to live a productive and fulfilling life.

What are the treatments for OCD?

While there is no cure for OCD, you can take steps to manage your obsessions and compulsions. The two primary treatments for OCD are:

Psychotherapy

The most common type of psychotherapy the team uses to treat OCD is cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). Using CBT to minimize the symptoms of OCD involves gradually exposing you to the objects and situations you fear. Over time, you slowly learn new ways to resist and control your compulsions.

Medication

In some cases, antidepressants can ease certain symptoms of OCD, particularly if you struggle with obsessive thoughts and behaviors.

For a compassionate, experienced mental health professional, call SpotLyte Behavioral Health or schedule an appointment online today.