t: (410) 933-9000     e: info (at) ehpllc.net

OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder)

Introduction to OCD

 

Do you feel the need to check and re-check things over and over? Do you have the same thoughts constantly? Do you feel a very strong need to perform certain rituals repeatedly and feel like you have no control over what you are doing?

If so, you may have a type of anxiety disorder called obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

If you have obsessive-compulsive disorder symptoms, you may feel isolated and helpless. Whether you suffer from uncontrollable thoughts, irrational urges, or feel compelled to perform the same rituals over and over again, there is a variety of help available. Educating yourself about OCD symptoms and treatment is an important first step.


What is obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)?

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder characterized by uncontrollable, unwanted thoughts and repetitive, ritualized behaviors you feel compelled to perform. If you have OCD, you probably recognize that your obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors are irrational – but even so, you feel unable to resist them and break free.

Like a needle getting stuck on an old record, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) causes the brain to get stuck on a particular thought or urge. For example, you may check the stove twenty times to make sure it’s really turned off, wash your hands until they’re scrubbed raw, or drive around for hours to make sure that the bump you heard while driving wasn’t a person you ran over.

For many people, OCD starts during childhood or the teen years. Most people are diagnosed by about age 19. Symptoms of OCD may come and go and be better or worse at different times.


What are the signs and symptoms of OCD?

People with OCD generally:

  • Have repeated thoughts or images about many different things, such as fear of germs, dirt, or intruders; acts of violence; hurting loved ones; sexual acts; conflicts with religious beliefs; or being overly tidy
  • Do the same rituals over and over such as washing hands, locking and unlocking doors, counting, keeping unneeded items, or repeating the same steps again and again
  • Can't control the unwanted thoughts and behaviors
  • Don't get pleasure when performing the behaviors or rituals, but get brief relief from the anxiety the thoughts cause
  • Spend at least 1 hour a day on the thoughts and rituals, which cause distress and get in the way of daily life.

 

Types of OCD obsessions and compulsions

Obsessions are involuntary, seemingly uncontrollable thoughts, images, or impulses that occur over and over again in your mind. You don’t want to have these ideas but you can’t stop them. Unfortunately, these obsessive thoughts are often disturbing and distracting.

Compulsions are behaviors or rituals that you feel driven to act out again and again. Usually, compulsions are performed in an attempt to make obsessions go away. For example, if you’re afraid of contamination, you might develop elaborate cleaning rituals. However, the relief never lasts. In fact, the obsessive thoughts usually come back stronger. And the compulsive behaviors often end up causing anxiety themselves as they become more demanding and time-consuming.

Most people with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) fall into one of the following categories:

  • Washers are afraid of contamination. They usually have cleaning or hand-washing compulsions.
  • Checkers repeatedly check things (oven turned off, door locked, etc.) that they associate with harm or danger.
  • Doubters and sinners are afraid that if everything isn’t perfect or done just right something terrible will happen or they will be punished.
  • Counters and arrangers are obsessed with order and symmetry. They may have superstitions about certain numbers, colors, or arrangements.
  • Hoarders fear that something bad will happen if they throw anything away. They compulsively hoard things that they don’t need or use.

 

Just because you have obsessive thoughts or perform compulsive behaviors does NOT mean that you have obsessive-compulsive disorder. With OCD, these thoughts and behaviors cause tremendous distress, take up a lot of time, and interfere with your daily life and relationships.


EHP Behavioral Services, LLC

3333 North Calvert Street Suite 670
Baltimore MD 21218 US
Phone: 410-933-9000
Fax: 410-933-0125
Email: info@ehpllc.net
The White Marsh Health Center
8114 Sandpiper Circle, Suite 215
Baltimore, Maryland 21236
Phone: 410-933-9000
Union Memorial Hospital Counseling Center
3300 North Calvert Street
Baltimore, Maryland 21236
Phone: 410-933-9000

Counseling/Psychotherapy, Career Evaluations and Counseling, Coaching, Consultation Services to Employers, Court Ordered Evaluations, Critical Incident Stress, Debriefings, Employee Assistance Counseling, EMDR, Eyemovement, Desensitization and Reprocessing, Fitness for Duty Evaluations, Forensic Evaluations, Mediations, Medical Surgical Evaluations, Medication Evaluations, Medication Management, Neuropsychiatry, Biofeedback Therapy, Neuropsychological Testing, Psychiatric Evaluations, Psychoeducational Evaluations, Psychological Evaluations, Psychological Testing, Return to Work Conferences, Workers Compensation, Evaluations, Hypnosis