Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a mental health disorder that causes people to experience intrusive, unwanted thoughts and images. These thoughts and images can be very disturbing, and they can interfere with everyday life.
People with OCD may be unable to stop thinking about the thoughts or images, even if they want to. This can lead to significant problems in everyday life, including difficulty concentrating, making decisions, and functioning in social situations.
In some cases, people with OCD may also experience a range of other mental health problems, like anxiety and depression. If you're worried that you might have OCD, it's important to talk to a mental health provider like Axis integrated Mental Health. We can help you understand your symptoms and offer treatment to help you manage your condition.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a mental health condition that affects around 2% of the population. People with OCD experience recurrent, intrusive thoughts (obsessions) and behaviors (compulsions) that are considered to be harmful or uncomfortable.
Some of the most common OCD symptoms include:
- Repeatedly thinking about a particular worry or fear
- Repeatedly performing a certain task or ritual to reduce the anxiety caused by the worry or fear
- A feeling of being under surveillance or constant worry about being judged
OCD obsessions are thought-based. They are thoughts that are repeated and persistent. These thoughts intrude when you are trying to do other things. You may try to eliminate these thoughts by performing a compulsive behavior or ritual.
Some of the most common OCD compulsion symptoms include:
- Fear of contamination
- Doubting if you did something, like turning off the stove or locking the door
- Intense stress when objects are not organized in a particular fashion
- Aggressive thoughts about harming yourself or others
- Unwanted thoughts about specific topics
OCD compulsions are behaviors that you feel like you have to do over and over again in relation to your obsession. You may feel like you have to do these activities to keep something bad from happening.
These compulsions are often excessive, not related to the problem you want to fix, and don’t bring you pleasure.
Oftentimes, compulsions revolve around specific types of actions, such as washing and cleaning, following a strict routine, keeping things orderly, counting objects repeatedly, and checking on something an excessive number of times.
The severity of one’s symptoms can vary significantly with OCD. For some people, symptoms can start in childhood, although many people don’t experience OCD symptoms until their teen or young adult years.
Symptoms tend to start more gradually and become more intense over time. Symptoms can also escalate when you are under stress. OCD is considered a life-long condition, but it can be managed with treatment.
The causes and risk factors for developing or triggering OCD are not fully understood. However, the factors below are believed to increase one’s chance of developing or triggering OCD.
- Genetics and biology: Having a parent or family member with OCD can increase your chance of developing OCD. OCD may occur because of changes in your brain’s chemistry and function.
- Stressful events: Experiencing a traumatic or stressful life event can increase your chances of triggering OCD.
- Other mental health disorders: There may be a connection between other mental health disorders, such as depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and tic disorders, that can increase your chance of developing OCD.
There are also a number of things you can do to reduce your risk of developing OCD.
For example, quitting smoking can help reduce the risk of developing cancer, and eating a healthy diet can help reduce the risk of developing other health problems. Similarly, staying active can help to improve your mental health and reduce the risk of developing OCD.
And last but not least, exercising can help to reduce the risk of developing stress-related illnesses, including OCD. If you're concerned about your risk of developing OCD, it's important to talk to your doctor about it.
Diagnosing OCD is generally a multi-step process, which includes a psychological evaluation where your feelings, thoughts, and behaviors are discussed. Then, a physical examination is used to rule out other physical causes for your symptoms.
From there, your information will be compared against the criteria in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) by the American Psychiatric Association to determine your diagnosis.
OCD is considered a life-long condition that one treats and manages. There is a range of options for treating OCD.
- Psychotherapy: Talk therapy, specifically cognitive behavioral therapy, can be used to expose you to something you fear, and help you learn how to resist doing compulsive rituals.
- Medication: There are five antidepressants approved by the FDA to treat OCD. A combination of antidepressants and other psychiatric medications may be prescribed to help you.
- Transcranial magnetic stimulation: TMS has been approved to treat OCD in adults when traditional treatment fails. It is a non-invasive procedure that stimulates nerve cells in the brain, helping improve one’s OCD symptoms.
If you are suffering from anxiety that is impacting your life, it is time to get help. At Axis Integrated Mental Health, we can help you explore various options for treating your anxiety.
Contact Axis Integrated Mental Health at (720) 400-7025 or fill out our contact us form to get the help you need today in Denver, Colorado, to treat your anxiety.