Each day, 2.5 million adults wake up with a thought in their head that they just can’t shake. Often, they recognize that the thought isn’t grounded in reality. Still, they may fixate, often completing disruptive, time-consuming rituals to keep negative thoughts at bay. If unwanted beliefs and compulsive rituals are impacting your life, it’s time to look into OCD treatment.
We’ve created this guide to help individuals with obsessive-compulsive disorder and those they love better understand this complex condition. We’ll explain the causes, symptoms, and treatment options available. Finally, we’ll direct you toward one of the best OCD treatment programs in Florida.
OCD is a mental illness that falls under the umbrella of anxiety disorders. The primary symptom that defines OCD is the tendency to “obsess” or fixate on unpleasant, unwanted thoughts. In many instances, individuals with OCD also perform compulsive behaviors intended to keep the repercussions of those thoughts at bay.
No two cases of OCD look precisely the same. There are several different subtypes, each with its own unique set of thoughts and behaviors.
These subtypes include the following.
Individuals become fixated on “checking” certain items, which could theoretically lead to danger or intrusions. For example, they may leave work or appointments to go home and ensure the oven isn’t on.
In this type of OCD, individuals become distracted by symmetry, order, balance, harmony, and other environmental components. They may need to leave a space in “perfect” condition before they feel comfortable leaving a room. This can often lead to re-doing tasks excessively, such as making and remaking a bed.
Individuals with contamination OCD might fear that a thought, substance, object, person, or behavior will somehow contaminate them. They may become fixated on cleaning, handwashing, bathing, changing clothes, or other tasks.
Often, they believe the contamination will lead to an unrelated consequence. For example, a rational thought would be, “These germs could make me sick.” An irrational OCD thought might be, “If I am contaminated and touch the children, they’ll have bad luck and die in an accident.”
In some cases, OCD can involve negative, unwanted thoughts without associated compulsions or rituals. Some professionals call this “Pure O” or “Pure Obsession” OCD. In all cases, the ideas are intrusive and untrue, with the power to impact self-esteem, self-perception, and social functioning.
Some forms of OCD can be extremely specific. In many cases, they involve intrusive thoughts surrounding harming others. Individuals may fear they’re capable of violence or deviant behavior.
If you are having disturbing thoughts, with or without associated ritual behavior, you may have obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Professionals are not entirely sure what causes OCD. They know that some individuals are more likely to develop the condition than others. Factors might include:
Like other mental health disorders, OCD is an illness. It has nothing to do with your character and isn’t caused by anything you’ve done.
In the abstract, the two most telling symptoms of OCD are the presence of obsessions and compulsions. Obsessions are intrusive, disturbing, or unwanted thoughts. Compulsions are the anxiety-driven behaviors an individual develops to quiet those thoughts.
The specific obsessions and compulsions will vary based on the subtype. Most cases share a few overarching symptoms in common.
Common symptoms include:
There are many stereotypes related to OCD. For example, some people think all individuals with OCD are extremely neat and tidy. In reality, some individuals might spend so much time engaging in rituals that they struggle to care for their homes or personal hygiene.
You do not need to “look” like you have OCD to struggle with this condition.
You may also have heard of obsessive-compulsive personality disorder or OCPD. Unlike OCD, OCPD is a personality disorder, not an anxiety disorder. The most common symptom is highly inflexible or rigid thoughts and behavior.
A psychological assessment can help determine if you have OCD or OCPD.
The key to effective OCD treatment is addressing the condition’s underlying cause. Your OCD treatment options will likely include a combination of talk therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), and exposure and response prevention therapy (ERPT).
The first step toward wellness is verbalizing your underlying thoughts and concerns.
Often, individuals struggling with OCD cannot express what is driving their compulsions out of fear of judgment. In some cases, they may even worry that speaking their fear out loud could cause it to manifest. Psychological therapy for OCD allows you to do so safely.
In talk therapy and CBD therapy, you’ll speak to a compassionate, non-judgmental professional who will listen to and take your fears seriously. You’ll work to try and uncover the root cause of your anxiety. They’ll provide coping strategies to help you challenge your unwanted thoughts.
Intellectually, you may recognize that there is no rational link between your obsessions and compulsions. Still, the anxiety at the heart of the disorder may prevent you from challenging those thoughts and routines.
In ERPT, you’ll work with a therapist to challenge your obsessions through exposure to your triggers. You will have full supervision and learn coping strategies to use while in distress. Your therapist will help you process your feelings, helping you retrain your brain through repeated low-risk exposure.
If obsessive-compulsive disorder symptoms are impacting your quality of life, it’s time to pursue OCD treatment in Florida. Comprehensive Wellness Centers offers residential and outpatient OCD treatment programs in comfortable, home-like facilities. You’ll receive evidence-based therapy and support that can help you reclaim your life.
Are you ready to challenge your thoughts and thrive? Contact the compassionate admissions professionals at CWC to discuss your options. OCD help in Florida is a phone call away.