Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) Treatment in Florida

Obsessive-compulsive disorder is a long-term mental health condition. People with OCD experience uncontrollable, recurring thoughts or engage in repetitive behaviors. Some people with OCD experience both of these conditions.

The symptoms of OCD can be very disruptive to a person’s life. They may spend a lot of time performing repetitive actions or “rituals.” Recurring thoughts can be distracting or cause significant stress. 

Getting treatment can help people with OCD reduce and manage their symptoms. Fewer or more manageable symptoms can help people feel more comfortable and improve day-to-day functioning. 

This article will explore what OCD is and how doctors treat it. You will learn:

  • The symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • What to expect during OCD treatment
  • Where to find comprehensive treatment and support to manage OCD

Reach out to the Agape Behavioral Center specialists to learn about our holistic treatment programs in Fort Pierce. Our intake staff can also help you schedule an initial appointment. 

 

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: Recognizing the Symptoms

As the name of the condition suggests, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) involves obsessions and compulsions. OCD is a mental health condition that requires treatment.

Obsessions

Obsessions are repetitive thoughts, mental images, or urges. People may experience intrusive thoughts, mental pictures, or urges. Obsessive thoughts can cause significant distress and affect daily life in many ways.

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), some examples of common obsessions include:

  • Thoughts of being aggressive or violent toward others
  • Wanting to have things in “perfect” order
  • Intrusive thoughts about religious ideas, sex, or bodily harm
  • Intense fear of “losing control” over your own behavior
  • Excessive worry about contamination or germs
  • Worrying about losing or forgetting things

People may experience significant stress or anxiety as a result of their obsessive thoughts.

Compulsions

Compulsions are repetitive behaviors a person feels they must do. People with compulsions may perform actions or rituals related to their obsessions. 

Examples of common compulsive behaviors include:

  • Checking things over and over again, such as making sure the door is locked or appliances are turned off
  • Counting compulsively
  • Repetitive prayers, mantras, or words
  • Excessive hand washing or cleaning
  • Arranging things in a very specific way

Engaging in compulsive behaviors can be time-consuming and distressing. 

Not all people who engage in obsessions or compulsive behaviors have OCD. People with OCD typically have disruptive patterns of thoughts and behaviors that affect their well-being or functioning. 

People with OCD typically meet specific criteria, including:

  • Being unable to control their obsessions or compulsions
  • Do not feel satisfied after engaging in compulsive behaviors
  • Spending an hour or more on their obsessions or compulsions
  • Experiencing significant daily problems related to their obsessions or compulsions

Some people with OCD have “tics,” which are typically repetitive movements or sounds. Motor tics include:

  • Grimacing
  • Eye movements
  • Blinking
  • Jerking shoulders
  • Head movements
  • Shrugging

Common vocal tics include:

  • Sniffing
  • Grunting
  • Throat clearing

People with OCD often have other mood or anxiety disorders. People are most likely to receive a diagnosis of OCD as a child or young adult. Symptoms of OCD can come and go or change over a person’s lifetime.

Agape Behavioral Health Treatment for OCD

What to Expect During Treatment for OCD

Treatment can help people with OCD manage their symptoms and improve their quality of life. Mental health professionals typically use a combination of medications and therapy to treat OCD symptoms.

Here is an overview of the therapies used to treat OCD. Before beginning treatment, your doctor or mental health specialist will assess your needs and create a personalized treatment plan.

Exposure and response prevention (ERP)

Exposure and response prevention therapy (ERP) is effective at helping to reduce compulsive behaviors. During ERP therapy sessions, people spend time in a safe, supportive environment, having gradual exposure to their triggers. For example, someone in ERP therapy may touch a soiled item without being allowed to wash their hands. 

People may experience anxiety during the initial phases of ERP therapy. However, over time, this approach can significantly reduce compulsive behaviors. 

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)

Cognitive behavioral therapy is a type of psychotherapy (talk therapy). Using it during OCD treatment can help people identify destructive patterns of thinking and behaviors. CBT helps people learn to question negative thoughts and change harmful behaviors.

Medications

A doctor or mental health provider may prescribe medications to help treat obsessive-compulsive disorder. Doctors typically prescribe serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). This type of antidepressant affects the brain’s serotonin levels. Regulating serotonin can help in treating OCD and depression

It can take up to 12 weeks for people to experience the benefits of SSRIs. Some people experience unwanted side effects when taking these drugs, including:

  • Trouble sleeping
  • Headache
  • Nausea

Comprehensive programs that include both medications and therapies are the most effective at helping people manage the symptoms of OCD. 

Find Treatment for OCD

If you or someone you love struggles with obsessive-compulsive disorder or another mental health condition, you are not alone. Contact the mental health specialists at Agape Behavioral Center to explore our treatment and support programs

References:

  1. National Institute of Health (NIH): Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: Core Interventions in the Treatment of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and Body Dysmorphic Disorder
  2. National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI): Obsessive-compulsive Disorder
  3. National Institute of Health (NIH): Obsessive Compulsive and Tic Related Disorders
  4. NIH: Exposure and response prevention for obsessive-compulsive disorder: A review and new directions
  5. Perelman School of Medicine: Understanding CBT for OCD
  6. University of Florida: Medications for OCD
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