Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is categorized by repetitive, unwanted, intrusive thoughts (the obsession component) and irrational, excessive urges to do certain actions (the compulsion component). Even though people with OCD may know that their thoughts and actions do not make sense, they are often unable to control or stop themselves. Most people occasionally have obsessive thoughts or compulsive behaviors. However, to truly have OCD these symptoms last for more than an hour daily and interfere with daily functioning of the individual’s life.
Examples of obsessions include but are not limited to: thoughts about harming or having harmed someone; doubts about having done something correct such as turning off the stove or locking the door; unpleasant sexual images; or fears of saying or shouting inappropriate things in public.
Compulsions are repetitive acts that temporarily relieve the stress brought on by an obsessive thought. Examples of compulsions include but are not limited to: handwashing due to fear of germs; counting and recounting money because the individual is not sure that they counted correctly each time; checking to see if a door or window is locked multiple times, or if the stove is off more than once; as well as ‘mental checking’ such as repeatedly going through a mental checklist to ensure they have done everything more than once.
Although OCD is not curable, it is very treatable. Medications and therapies help to keep the disorder under control, so the individual may live a better life. If you have or are experiencing any signs or symptoms of OCD do not be afraid to reach out for help. Using the right treatment modality for you will help to calm your brain, give you a sense of peace, and reduce the obsessive thoughts that take over. Let us help you if you are experiencing any of this discomfort!
By: Amanda Moret PMHNP, FNP