What is OCD?
And do I have it?
OCD, which stands for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, is a mental disorder characterized by unwanted or distressing thoughts, images, urges, or doubts known as obsessions, along with repetitive physical or mental behaviors known as compulsions. It is often referred to as the “doubting disorder” or the “what if disorder” due to its association with an intolerance for uncertainty, which can cause mild to severely impairing distress.
There are many types of unwanted thoughts that present with OCD, attacking a person’s core values. Common obsessions can revolve around
- harming others
- religious fears
- doubts about one’s sexual orientation
- uncertainty about one’s relationships
- fear of germs and contamination
- hyperawareness of breathing, pulse, swallowing
- taboo sexual or violent thoughts...
All share one common element: a need to know for sure.
Many persons with OCD suffer from obsessions and compulsions without knowing what they are or why they present themselves. This is often accompanied by shame and attempts to hide these thoughts and behaviors. Efforts to cope may include avoidance, extensive rumination, reassurance seeking, researching (googling) for answers, and performing specific rituals or behaviors like washing, praying, touching and ordering things a certain way, checking, and many more. While these efforts may provide temporary relief, they fail in the long run to break – and rather feed – the anxiety loop.
Approximately 1 in 40 adults suffer from OCD, which is classified by the World Health Organization as one of the ten most debilitating disorders, affecting quality of life. OCD is chronic but highly treatable through Exposure and Response Prevention therapy, the gold standard in effectively treating OCD.
While a person may have OCD all their life, they do not need to suffer from OCD all their life. There is help and effective treatment to guide sufferers to overcome their symptoms and allow them to live healthy, satisfying lives free from the distress and anxiety of OCD.
Call for a free consultation, and find the help you need to address your OCD symptoms.