Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is one of those mental health issues that’s provoked a lot of attention throughout the years. Some people even go so far as to ask, “Doesn’t everyone have a little OCD?”
This question stirs up a lot of controversies. Some people will tell you that being a little OCD is like being a little pregnant or having a little bit of a heart attack. Others will tell you that they don’t like jokes that end with the line, “I’m so OCD.”
Answers like this bring some valid points. For instance, OCD is a clinical diagnosis that does vary in intensity. It’s not a personality description so it shouldn’t be used to trivialize someone’s struggle. However, many people don’t mean to trivialize things. They simply don’t have enough information about this disorder.
What Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Is
Before we can discuss OCD treatment we need to understand what this disorder is. Essentially it’s a type of anxiety disorder that’s caused by persistent, obsessive thoughts and images. This anxiety can only be alleviated when the person with obsessive-compulsive disorder performs certain compulsive behaviors (e.g., perfectly organizing pens by color, checking their door to ensure it’s locked a certain number of times before leaving home). While some of these symptoms are mild, others are quite debilitating as they become controlled by these things.
It’s common for a person to become obsessed with something for a while or to have certain “pet peeves” they’re bothered by. These things are very different from having obsessive-compulsive disorder because they can be ignored whereas someone who hasn’t undergone OCD treatment can’t ignore theirs.
There are a few questions you can ask yourself to differentiate whether or not you have this disorder.
Do you experience obsessions?
Obsessions are defined as recurrent, persistent thoughts, images, or impulses that are intrusive, inappropriate, and distressing. These thoughts aren’t about real-life problems that you’re excessively worried about. Instead, they’re very difficult to ignore or suppress.
Do you experience compulsions?
Compulsions are repetitive behaviors (e.g., washing your hands, checking your door) that you feel driven to do because of your obsession. In other words, these compulsions are engaged to help reduce any stress or prevent any dreaded event from occurring. They’re excessive.
Do your obsessions and compulsions consume you?
People with OCD spend a lot of time each day (more than an hour) dealing with their obsessions and compulsions. As such, these things interfere with their ability to function each day. They also interfere with them having healthy relationships.
Specialized OCD Treatment
Most people who have obsessive-compulsive disorder have tried various tips and tricks to control their behavior. While some of these may have worked for a while, no OCD treatment enables a person to get to a place where they can consistently manage their issues. Unfortunately, many people will then say that they’re not working hard enough to get better when this is far from the truth.
The best form of OCD treatment is Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP). Here, with the help of a mental health professional, the patient repeatedly confronts their fears until they subside. This doesn’t mean engaging in compulsions, escape behaviors, or avoidance. It’s also different from CBT (a.k.a., “talk therapy”) because simply talking about OCD isn’t enough to help someone heal from it.
While not everyone has obsessive-compulsive disorder it’s important for those who do to receive OCD treatment. If you need this help and you live in Pinellas County, FL we’re here at TMS Advantage to help you. Take some time to reach out to us today.
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