Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, commonly known as OCD, is a common mental health disorder that makes people exhibit repetitive behaviors in their day-to-day lives. Such behavioral patterns may include repeatedly checking on things or cleaning them, washing hands, or anything driven by recurring, unwanted thoughts or sensations (obsessions).

Globally, around 1 percent men and 1.5 percent women are estimated to have OCD. Women, as statistics suggest, are more vulnerable to OCD than men in adulthood. Men, on the contrary, are more likely to exhibit the signs of OCD in childhood.

Treating OCD Effectively

At Athena Behavioral Health, we offer effective treatment for OCD. Our experienced therapists make use of evidence-based treatment protocols to help people with OCD lead a quality life.

The major treatment approaches for OCD used at Athena include medication, psychotherapy, or a combination of the two. Before we start our treatment program, we take into consideration if the patient is suffering from any co-existing mental disorders, such as depression, anxiety, or body dysmorphic disorder, a disorder characterized by a false belief that a part of their body is abnormal.

 

Medication

Depending on the severity of symptoms and other individual factors, doctors may prescribe serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SRIs) to help relieve OCD symptoms.

People undergoing OCD treatment often require higher daily doses of SRIs than the ones with depression. While some patients may show speedy recovery, other may take 8 to 12 weeks to resume their daily routines.

In addition to SRIs, an antipsychotic medication may be administered in some cases where SRIs fail to alleviate the symptoms.

Before we prescribe a medication, we educate the patient:

  • About the risks and benefits associated with the medicine.
  • To not discontinue the medication without doctor’s advice as abrupt termination may lead to worsening of OCD symptoms.
  • To report any possible side effects to the doctor right away.

Psychotherapy

Psychotherapy is recognized as an effective approach to treat OCD in adults and children.

Research studies suggest that psychotherapies, including cognitive behavior therapy (CBT), recovery-focused behavior therapy (RFBT), exposure response prevention (ERP) and other such habit reversal training interventions can prove as effective as medication in relieving OCD symptoms.

According to the latest research, RFBT and ERP, which is a specific type of CBT, combined with medication are clinically-recommended as the “first-line” therapeutic approaches for OCD.

Signs and Symptoms of OCD

People with OCD may display two types of symptoms – obsessions and compulsions.
Obsessions
Obsessions are characterized by repeated urges, temptations, thoughts, or mental images that lead to anxiety. The symptoms may include:
  • Constant fear of germs or contamination
  • Disturbing images or sexual thoughts
  • Persistent urge to have things in a perfect order
  • Aggressive thoughts toward others or self
Compulsions
These are a set of repetitive behaviors that a person feels compelled to perform as a response to an obsessive thought. Common examples may include:
  • Excessive handwashing or cleaning
  • Compulsive counting
  • Being very particular about arranging things in a particular, precise manner
  • Checking on things repeatedly, like ensuring if the gas/oven is off or door is locked multiple times
However, it is not necessary that all such habits are compulsions as it is a common human nature to double check things sometimes. The characteristic traits of a person with OCD may include:
  • An uncontrollable urge to exhibit certain thoughts or behaviors, and practice them excessively
  • Spending at least 1 hour a day in addressing such thoughts or behaviors
  • Not experiencing any pleasure out of these behaviors or rituals, but doing them to seek momentary relief from anxious and overwhelming thoughts
  • Experiencing poor quality of life and significant problems in their day-to-day lives attributing to these thoughts or behaviors
Some individuals with OCD may also experience signs of a tic disorder. Generally, tics are of two types: motor tics and vocal tics Motor tics are characterized by sudden, brief, repetitive movements, such as:
  • Repeated eye blinking and other eye movements
  • Shoulder shrugging
  • Head or shoulder jerking
  • Facial grimacing
Vocal tics include repetitive vocal actions, such as throat-clearing, sniffing, or grunting sounds. The severity and duration of symptoms may vary from person to person. But when they come they badly affect quality of life of both the people with OCD and their friends and family members. Therefore, once the symptoms of OCD are recognized, it is important to seek timely treatment. Athena Behavioral Health specializes in treating OCD of varying degrees. Our specialized customized programs use the latest in technology to treat this mental disorder. To book an appointment or know more about OCD, call our 24 x 7 helpline 9289086193.
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