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Maybe you’re here because you or someone you know has Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)? Maybe this is your first time looking for help, or maybe you are tired of spinning your wheels with therapies that haven’t helped. Well, you’ve come to the right place; I specialize in treating OCD, and I love doing it.
OCD is a tricky disorder and can manifest in many different ways. It’s not a one-size-fits-all disorder. It frequently confuses both sufferers and mental health professionals alike. It’s not uncommon for a person to suffer from OCD well into adulthood before it’s accurately diagnosed.
You will find some general information below, however, I encourage you to schedule a free 30-minute consultation during which I will answer your specific questions and provide an overview of OCD and OCD Treatment.
OCD requires specialized training for accurate diagnosis and effective treatment. I specialize in a subset of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy called Exposure Response Prevention (ERP). ERP is the gold standard for OCD treatment. Backed by sound research and clinical trials, ERP is proven to significantly reduce, if not eliminate the symptoms of OCD all together.
If you take away only one piece of information from this site, let it be this: although OCD is considered a chronic disorder, it is highly treatable. With the right specialized treatment, you can reclaim your life, virtually eliminate symptoms, and learn the tools to address symptoms should they return.
What is Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder?
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a mental illness characterized by repetitive intrusive thoughts, images or urges. These intrusive thoughts trigger very distressing emotions (anxiety, fear, panic, disgust, shame, etc). In response to the distress, the individual engages in compulsions or ritual-like behaviors to stop the obsession or reduce the distress. Typically the compulsions do reduce the distress to some degree, however, the obsessions eventually return. As the cycle between obsessions and compulsions grows stronger, OCD demands more and more of a person’s time and energy.
Read personal accounts of OCD…
What exactly are obsessions?
Obsessions are repetitive thoughts, images, or urges that feel outside of a person’s control. These thoughts are experienced as intrusive and unwanted by the individual and occur over and over again. In fact, the person finds these thoughts extremely upsetting and uncomfortable, triggering intense anxiety, fear, disgust, doubt, guilt, etc. In many cases the individual can identify that the thoughts are not logical or don’t make sense, however, they remain very distressing.
• Contamination OCD (Fear of Germs, Bodily Fluids, Household cleaners, Dirt, Dust)
• Disease (Fear of Aids, Cancer, STI, Mental Illness, Pregnancy)
• Harm OCD (Intrusive Thoughts/Images about hurting self, others, including a loved one or pet.)
• Perfectionism OCD (Symmetry, Exactness, Order, Perfection, Completeness)
• Sexual orientation/Gender OCD (Obsessing or constantly questioning your sexuality or gender identity)
• Just Right OCD (Constantly obsessing that something just doesn’t feel right)
• Religious or Moral OCD (Obsessions that are based in religion, religious beliefs, morality, etc.)
• Pedophilia OCD (Intrusive Unwanted harmful or sexual thoughts/images about children)
• Relationship OCD (Constantly questioning your romantic relationship)
• The list goes on and on…
And what’s a compulsion?
Compulsions (sometimes referred to as rituals) are the tactics the individual uses to help either stop the obsessions or reduce the discomfort associated with them. While compulsions/rituals can reduce discomfort in the short term, engaging in them actually strengthens the cycle of OCD. Over time OCD will demand more and more compulsions be done in order to find relief. Compulsions are time-consuming and often interfere with a person’s life. One thing to know about OCD is that OCD WILL NEVER BE SATISFIED. It tricks sufferers into thinking that if they just do this one last compulsion they will finally feel better and be free, but as soon as they do, OCD demands more.
• Checking (locks, windows, washing, memories, thoughts, feelings, etc.)
• Washing and Cleaning (Ritualistic washing and cleaning)
• Reassurance seeking (Asking others for reassurance regarding some form of uncertainty)
• Repeating (urge to repeat certain behaviors over and over until it “feels right” or to a particular number)
• Googling/Researching (Compulsive searching for answers)
• Compulsive avoidance (Avoids certain objects or triggers out of fear they will trigger obsessions or compulsions)
• Mental Compulsions (Thought replacing, arguing, avoidance, pushing away thoughts, attempting to figure it out)
• Ritualized behaviors (doing things in a rigid particular way with the belief that it serves some magical/mystical purpose or will reduce/neutralize the obsession)
• The list goes on and on…
How do you treat OCD?
OCD requires a specialized form of treatment called Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP). ERP is a specific form of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy clinically researched and tested for treating OCD. There are decades of research documenting the effectiveness of ERP and it is widely recognized as the gold standard in OCD treatment.
Aren’t we all “a little bit OCD” at times?
No, OCD is frequently misrepresented as a personality quirk or character trait, However, OCD is a very serious mental health condition affecting about 2 to 3 million adults, and half a million children, in the US alone.
Isn’t OCD just about washing hands, cleaning and being neat?
While obsessions and compulsions around germs, washing, and organization can be a part of OCD; they make up only a small part of the range of OCD symptoms. Individuals with OCD can have obsessions related to a wide variety of things, including losing control, hurting others, unwanted sexual thoughts, religious thoughts, and many many more. Additionally, the distress caused by this obsessions can be reduced by a range of compulsions, including “checking” (e.g., re-checking locks, appliances, outlets, thoughts), “repeating’ (e.g., doing the same action over and over again), and “counting” (e.g., mentally counting to certain numbers or doing actions a certain number of times). Furthermore, many of the compulsive behaviors are done mentally and are not visible to the casual observer.