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:

  1. 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
  2. Compulsions: Repetitive behaviors that are a person executes with the false hope of relieving anxiety. Often, the compulsive behaviors have no rational basis for solving problems, cause feelings of shame, and increase a person’s anxiety.
    • “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.

What Are the Causes of OCD?

The causes of OCD are mostly unknown; however, according to the NIMH, the following are risk factors of the disorder:
  • Genetics: Having a sibling, parent, or child with OCD increases a person’s chances of developing the disorder.
  • Brain Structure and Functioning: While more research is needed to understand this connection, people with OCD may have structural abnormalities in their brains, contributing to OCD symptoms.
  • Environment: Some studies have found a connection between childhood trauma and the development of OCD. Some children develop OCD following a streptococcal infection, a diagnosis known as “PANDAS.”

Do I Have Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder?

If you believe you or a loved one may be suffering from Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, our assessment may be a beneficial tool. Although the assessment can not be used as a definitive diagnosis, it can help to determine how many symptoms associated with OCD a person may be facing.

We base our assessment questions on the criteria laid out by the fifth edition of The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). Regardless to the results of the assessment, it is important to note that OCD must be diagnosed by a trained medical professional.

How Can I Find Relief From Symptoms of OCD?

Symptoms of OCD can often flair up during significant life events or changes, whether the event or change is positive or negative. All life changes bring about a set of new challenges and add stressors to life. For example, a person might become a parent for the first time, which is both a joyful and highly stressful life event. They may obsessively worry about being a good parent and fear that they will lose control of themselves, resulting in harming their child. These holistic approaches to managing stress can help alleviate or prevent symptoms of OCD:

  • Mindfulness and meditation practices can also help a person learn to respond to distressing or disturbing thoughts.
  • Caring for physical health needs, like getting enough sleep, exercising, and eating healthy can be part of a person’s treatment plan for OCD.
  • The “mind-body” connection and “whole-self” wellness practices can help a person stay mentally healthy and resilient.

Dual-Diagnosis Treatment for OCD at Create Recovery Center

Individuals with OCD might develop a co-occurring disorder of addiction. People with OCD might become addicted to substances or processes to:

  • Self-medicate and find relief from symptoms
  • Escape by engaging in process addictions, like sex or gambling
  • Find themselves compulsively checking their smartphones or the internet

At Create Recovery, our expert staff can help those who are struggling with OCD and addiction. We offer evidence-based treatment methods, like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and other therapies to help you develop coping skills to manage your OCD. We also understand the value of integrating holistic health strategies into a person’s treatment plan to maximize their success in recovery. While there is no cure for OCD, you can learn to thrive with your disorder at Create Recovery.

Addiction and OCD can hold you back from living the life of your dreams. Find hope and recovery at Create Recovery!