Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
What Is OCD and How Is This Unique Anxiety Disorder Treated?
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a unique type of mental health issue that causes significant anxiety around irrational phobias for a person. According to the National Institue of Mental Health (NIMH), OCD is characterized by the presence of either obsessions, compulsions, or a combination:
- Obsessions: Repeated thoughts, urges, or mental images that seem uncontrollable and cause anxiety. These thoughts, urges, or mental images cause a person to fear that they will “lose control” and act out the harmful ideas. Some common examples include:
- Aggressive thought about oneself, loved ones, or others
- Unwanted thoughts about taboo subjects or forbidden behaviors, usually going against one’s morals and principles
- Preoccupation with cleanliness and a fear of germs or contamination
- Need for things to be perfect, orderly, or symmetrical to feel relaxed
- “Checking” compulsions, like repeated making sure that lights are turned off, a door is locked, or an appliance is turned off
- Excessive cleaning or handwashing
- Rearranging and reordering things in a particular way
- Counting compulsions, like preoccupations with specific numbers or needing to complete mundane tasks a certain number of times before feeling “just right”
- Thoughts can also be compulsive when a person tries to “think away” their bad or distressing thoughts
Like all other types of mental health disorders, these behaviors can be somewhat normal to a degree. For example, having aggressive thoughts when angry or organizing a workspace might not indicate that a person has OCD. When determining whether these thoughts or behaviors constitute a disorder, they need to significantly impact a person’s ability to function normally and diminish their overall quality of life.
Sometimes, people with OCD develop addictions as a means of coping with their symptoms. Create Recovery Center of West Los Angeles can help those suffering from a dual-diagnosis of addiction and OCD. We believe that addressing the underlying causes of addiction is the best approach to recovery and treatment!
You Are Not Your Disorder!
One of the most important things to remember with OCD and other mental health issues is that you are not your disorder! People with OCD might worry that their intrusive thoughts and unwanted urges indicate a sinister character that will come to the surface if they “lose control.” Many compulsive behaviors are maladaptive means of attempting to retain control of themselves from acting on their obsessions or keeping themselves or others safe from harm.
Many people with OCD may not understand the line that separates them from their disorder. They may have obsessive thoughts of harming others and think, “deep down, I am a bad or wicked person.” These obsessive thoughts are rooted in disrupted cognitive processes that are symptomatic of a disorder and not reflective of a person’s true self.