OCD is an anxiety disorder characterized by intrusive thoughts and repetitive behaviors that cause distress and create a substantial burden for effected individuals. The obsessions are recurrent, persistent thoughts, experienced as intrusive or inappropriate, causing considerable anxiety. Compulsions are particular behaviors or mental acts performed as a way of preventing or alleviating the anxiety triggered by intrusive thoughts.
Individuals with OCD recognize that the obsessions and the rituals employed to prevent feared harm or negative consequences are unreasonable, but the doubt and anxiety is often too great to prevent them from performing repetitive compulsions.
OCD can present in many different forms including:
- Contamination Fears
- Fear of Causing Harm
- Washing and Cleaning
- Counting, Ordering and Arranging
- Checking and Repeating
- Mental Rituals
- Religious Obsessions
- Sexual Obsessions
- Purely Obsessional OCD, involving distressing intrusive thoughts
The good news is that OCD is treated very successfully with a form of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy called Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP). Medication can also be tremendously helpful and is recommended when indicated.
Nina Rifkind, LCSW, brings a wealth of knowledge, experience and success stories, in treating OCD at Wellspring Counseling.