Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Description of the Diagnosis/Issue

OCD is often thought of as very neat and orderly person and/or Germaphobe who washes their hands over and over again. Unfortunately, OCD is a very complex Disorder and is an Anxiety Disorder, characterized by unwanted and intrusive thoughts (Obsessions) that are relieved by performing rituals (Compulsions). Some people have intrusive thoughts and they perform certain rituals on a daily basis, this only becomes an issue that escalates to an OCD Diagnosis when the Obsessions and Compulsions start interfering with a person’s daily life. For example, a person can be Germophobic and wash their hands often throughout the day and make sure that their home and office space are clean. This only becomes a concern when they are only focused on cleaning and washing hands, where they are unable to work, have relationships with others, and prevents them from leaving the house for fear of contracting germs.

Types of Treatment Modalities/ Interventions

OCD can be treated by Medication Management to help quell the Anxiety and Psychotherapy (specifically Exposure Therapy). Exposure Therapy is very effective in treating OCD as it uses Exposure to the Anxiety-producing event to show the person suffering from OCD that the feeling can pass and they will be all right. For example, the person with Germaphobia may start their Exposure Therapy with being in the Therapist’s office talking about how it feels to not wash their hands every 10 minutes, then it progresses to washing only every 20 minutes and so on, until they are washing only when necessary.