OCD: What It Is, Symptoms, and Treatment
What is OCD: Symptoms and Treatment
Do you ever feel like you’re constantly cleaning, or that you have to check things multiple times? If so, you may be experiencing symptoms of OCD. Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a mental illness that affects both men and women, and can cause severe anxiety and distress. In this blog post, we will discuss what OCD is, the symptoms associated with it, and how it can be treated using CBT.
OCD is characterized by intrusive, unwanted thoughts (obsessions) and/or repetitive behaviors (compulsions). People with OCD may have either obsessions or compulsions, or both. Obsessions are often related to fears or worries, such as the fear of contamination, while compulsions are usually repetitive behaviors that the person feels they must do in order to ‘fix’, ‘get rid of’ or ‘neutralize’ their obsessions. For example, a person with OCD who is afraid of contamination may wash their hands repeatedly throughout the day.
There are a number of different obsessive and compulsive behaviors that can be present in OCD, and they can vary from person to person. Some common obsessions include:
- Fear of contamination or dirt
- Excessive worry about health or illness
- Doubting one’s own memory or perception
- Intrusive, unwanted thoughts about violence, sex, or religion
Compulsions are often repetitive behaviors that the person feels they must do in order to ‘fix’, ‘get rid of’ or ‘neutralize’ their obsessions. For example, a person with OCD who is afraid of contamination may wash their hands repeatedly throughout the day. OCD can cause severe anxiety and distress, and can interfere with a person’s ability to live a normal life.
Compulsions can vary from person to person, and may include:
- Feel like you have to wash your hands or take a shower multiple times a day
- Check things (like the locks on your door) multiple times
- Have difficulty throwing things away, even if they are of no use to you
- Count objects or repeat words or phrases in your head
- Arrange things in a certain order
- Feel like everything around you has to be symmetrical or perfect
CBT Treatment for OCD
Fortunately, there are treatments available that can help people with OCD manage their symptoms. One of the most effective treatments is CBT, or cognitive-behavioral therapy. CBT for OCD typically involves Exposure and Response prevention (ERP), which is a treatment that helps people face their fears and learn to control their compulsions. ERP is a process of gradually exposing the person to their fear or worry (exposure), and then helping them to resist the urge to perform their compulsions (response prevention). This helps the person to realize that their obsessive thoughts are not true and that they can cope with anxiety without resorting to their compulsions. CBT works by helping you to change your thinking patterns and behaviors. With CBT, you will learn how to control your OCD and reduce the anxiety you feel.
If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, it is important to seek professional help. OCD can be treated using Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT), which has been shown to be an effective treatment for this disorder. OCD can be a debilitating illness, but with the right treatment, it is possible to live a happy and healthy life.
Coming to CBT therapy is a courageous first step if you have OCD. At Suaimhneas Cork CBT Therapy and Mindfulness, you will find a safe, supportive, non-judgemental space where your experience of OCD is respected and understood.
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Feel free to contact us at Suaimhneas Cork CBT Therapy and Mindfulness if you have any questions or if you would like to to book an appointment. Don’t hesitate to get in touch on our contact form below, or phone us at 086 840 3722.