Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder that causes people to become trapped in a cycle of obsessions and compulsions that affect their ability to live freely. OCD is among the most commonly diagnosed anxiety disorders. However, the good news is that, with the help of an OCD treatment program, people can begin to manage their anxiety and lead full, healthy lives.
Columbia Associates offers specialized mental health disorders treatment tailored to each client’s needs. Our therapists and counselors have extensive training and experience in treating obsessive-compulsive disorder through evidenced-based practices such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), exposure and response prevention (ERP), and medication management. Our OCD treatment program aims to help clients identify their triggers, develop healthy coping skills, and learn how to manage their anxiety. If you are searching for OCD treatment for yourself or a loved one, contact us at 703.682.8208 to learn more about our OCD treatment center.
An Overview of OCD
Obsessive-compulsive disorder is categorized as an anxiety disorder. Like other anxiety disorders, people with OCD have an intense or overwhelming reaction to things people who aren’t affected wouldn’t think twice about. There are two major components of OCD: obsessions and compulsions.
Obsessions are recurrent, intrusive thoughts or sensations. For example, these can be thoughts of a burglar breaking into a person’s home or dangerous germs crawling over their skin.
Compulsions are repetitive actions that people with OCD are driven to complete due to their obsessions. These behaviors include locking and relocking the front door or devoting an extreme amount of time to cleaning.
Some common fixations people with OCD might experience include:
- Contamination – From bodily fluids, germs, dirt, chemicals, etc.
- Losing control – Acting on an impulse to harm themself or others, stealing things, blurting out obscenities or other comments
- Harm – Intentionally doing something that hurts others or failing to be careful
- Perfectionism – Concern about precision or exactness, evenness, losing or forgetting things
- Unwanted sexual thoughts – Perverse, forbidden, or aggressive sexual thoughts that cause distress
- Religious – Fear of offending God or concern with ethics or morality
- Superstitions – Related to lucky or unlucky numbers, objects, dates, etc.
Fixating on these thoughts and behaviors can cause significant stress and have a tremendous impact on a person’s life. Someone with OCD might have trouble completing daily activities like making breakfast, going to the store, or interacting with others as a result of their obsessions and compulsions. To be considered for a diagnosis of obsessive-compulsive disorder, a person must be experiencing obsessive thoughts and compulsive behavior for an hour or more every day. Another key component of the diagnosis is that a person with OCD experiences anxiety due to their fixations.
What OCD Is Not
For decades, pop culture has helped establish many stereotypes about obsessive-compulsive disorder. People who are very meticulous or keep their spaces very clean might sometimes even be heard uttering an apology or explanation to the effect of, “Sorry, just my OCD acting up again.” Many people have routines and are particular about certain aspects of their lives. This is normal.
However, obsessive-compulsive disorder is when routines become so disruptive that they make it hard to manage daily life. An organized person organizes their desk, but a person with OCD spends so much time and emotional energy fixating on the state of their desk that they may be unable to leave their house to go to work, shop for groceries, or keep in touch with loved ones.
The Signs and Symptoms of OCD
The symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder can be traced back to the two primary components of the disorder: obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors. Obsessions and compulsions can look very different from person to person. Fixating on obsessions and compulsions can cause symptoms such as:
- Panic attacks
- Avoiding triggers
- Guilt or stress over compulsive behaviors
- Disturbing intrusive thoughts or images
- Repeatedly checking things
- Constantly seeking reassurance or approval
- Extreme concern with order or cleanliness
If you or a loved one is exhibiting any of these signs and symptoms, it might be time to consider seeking our help from an OCD treatment program.
What Can Cause OCD?
Obsessive-compulsive disorder is a complex condition. There are a variety of risk factors that make individuals more or less susceptible to developing OCD. Research suggests that the most prominent risk factors for obsessive-compulsive disorder are genetic and biological.
Studies involving identical twins and the immediate families of people with obsessive-compulsive disorder have suggested that genetic risk factors play a major role in whether or not a person is at risk of developing OCD. However, research has not identified a single gene that causes OCD. Instead, there are different versions or alleles of several genes that may contribute to a person’s OCD risk.
Our bodies rely on several biochemicals to function properly. Early research suggests that the neurotransmitter serotonin, which also impacts the risk of an individual developing depression or generalized anxiety, may play a role in OCD risk as well.
A genetic predisposition towards a specific mental health disorder does not necessarily mean it will develop. People who develop OCD can experience environmental factors that also impact their mental health. Prenatal weight gain, difficult labor, traumatic events, and abuse are all linked to OCD risk.
What to Expect in Our OCD Treatment Program
Like any complex disorder, treating OCD involves working with a mental health professional to develop a plan based on a client’s unique situation. Treatment for obsessive-compulsive disorder might include:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy – Talk therapy focuses on teaching clients strategies for altering their behavior.
- Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) therapy – TMS is an FDA-approved treatment for OCD and other mental health conditions that involves stimulating certain parts of the brain with magnetic pulses to promote healing.
- Medication – Certain medications can help alleviate symptoms and address the biological roots of obsessive-compulsive disorder.
- Exposure and response prevention (ERP) therapy – This therapy involves exposure to triggers in a controlled environment to alter a participant’s perception of the trigger.
Understanding options for OCD treatment is the first step in finding a path towards recovery. If you or someone you love is struggling with OCD, don’t hesitate to reach out for help.
Benefits of OCD Treatment
Our OCD treatment program is an invaluable part of recovery for those struggling with obsessive-compulsive disorder. The program can help individuals:
- Gain control over unwanted intrusive thoughts and behaviors
- Create healthier coping skills
- Manage anxiety and distress levels
With the right treatment plan, clients can learn to identify triggers better, understand their unique behaviors, and develop skills to confront potential problems in the future. Participating in a specialized OCD treatment program can aid in creating a more independent and hopeful outlook on life while becoming more socially influential overall. Don’t hesitate to get yourself or someone you care about the help they need.
Contact Columbia Associates for OCD Treatment in D.C. and Beyond
At Columbia Associates, we help people in our communities access life-changing mental health care. We are among the best-established mental health practices in the greater D.C. area. Our services are tailored to suit all kinds of people, including couples, individuals, young adults, children, and teens, in addition to everyone else. We have crafted an array of offerings that will perfectly meet the needs of any person.
If you believe that you are experiencing an anxiety disorder like OCD, contact us today at 703.682.8208 to learn what our compassionate care providers can do for you.