OBSESSIVE COMPULSIVE DISORDER (OCD)
Getting Support for OCD
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder characterized by obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviours. While some people are familiar with the repetitive or ritualistic behaviours that are commonly linked to OCD — such as excessive hand-washing — it presents in many different ways.
OCD is the 4th most common mental disorder. Between 600,000 – 1.5 million Canadians develop OCD at some point in their lives. While some individuals can manage mild symptoms as they arise, others are debilitated by more severe manifestations. Therapy, sometimes combined with medication, can help individuals with OCD live healthier lives.
Types of OCD
Generally, OCD falls into five main categories. However, symptoms may overlap with
some of the areas.
Someone struggling with checking-based behaviour may fear that something bad will happen, so they put rituals in place to feel safe. Common concerns may revolve around safety, health, mistakes, inappropriate behaviours. Checking behaviours may include physical inspection, avoidance, reassurance, and mental rituals.
Contamination / Mental Contamination
Someone struggling with contact contamination may battle with feelings of dirtiness or discomfort in response to physical contact with certain things — in particular germs, dirt, disease, body fluids, etc. Mental contamination may be triggered by thoughts, images or memories that are internalized so the affected person feels “dirty.” In response, they may have excessive rituals for cleanliness, separating contaminated items, repeatedly changing clothes, researching germs, or magical rituals (praying, knocking, phrases).
Symmetry and Ordering
Symmetry obsession may result in an individual focusing on things being perfect, uniform, or aligned. Related compulsions can include arranging or ordering, aligning things, touching, or tapping. This type of OCD is sometimes referred to as “just right” OCD and it can greatly affect an individual’s daily life. Like other types of OCD, the compulsion helps to reduce anxiety, discomfort, and tension.
Ruminations / Intrusive Thoughts
Much like its name, this type of OCD focuses on intrusive — and unwanted — thoughts or obsessions. It presents itself in different ways, which can range from a fear of losing things or contamination to mental checking or harmful thoughts. Many times, the individual withdraws from close relationships or other obligations in their life as a result of their preoccupation.
Unlike other types of OCD, hoarding disorder does not include rituals and is not characterized by obsessive or intrusive thoughts. Instead, hoarding is part of the individual’s regular train of thought — it is often associated with positive feelings and pleasure. However, there is great distress in parting with items, and, over time, accumulating possessions can obstruct their living area. Hoarding disorder may also occur in conjunction with another form of OCD.
Getting Help for OCD
If you or a loved one is suffering from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, the clinical team at Bhatia Psychology Group can help. Cognitive behavioural therapy has been shown to be an effective treatment for OCD, by changing the interpretation of obsessive thoughts, feelings, or behaviours. Over time, this helps to break the connection between feelings of anxiety and certain actions, like rituals or repetition. Other therapies can be supportive as well, such as Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP). The end result: a life free from the daily interference and compulsions related to OCD.
FAQs – Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
What causes Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)?
OCD is caused by a combination of genetic, environmental, and personality factors. There is no singular cause.
Can Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) be cured?
There is no cure for OCD — usually, treatment is associated with managing the symptoms. Typically, individuals with OCD will go through phases where symptoms are more prominent and then less prominent. Ongoing management is important to manage the compulsions and thoughts.
Can Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) cause depression?
Yes, OCD may cause depression. This is often because obsessions and compulsions can greatly interfere with a person’s everyday life and activities.
When do Obsessive Compulsive Disorders (OCD) develop?
OCD usually arises before age 25. It is most commonly diagnosed in adolescence or childhood. In fact, most individuals are diagnosed by age 19.
How is Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) diagnosed?
Usually, an interview with standard questions is conducted by a qualified mental health professional to properly diagnose an individual with OCD. This interview is completed in conjunction with a full mental health evaluation.
Is Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) genetic?
It’s thought that OCD is partially due to genetics. However, researchers have not located a specific gene associated with this condition. Further research is necessary.
How can I get help for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)?
Finding a clinical team of trained professionals that can help you navigate and manage OCD is your first step towards living a more balanced life. At Bhatia Psychology Group, our compassionate and experienced team can help you free yourself from ongoing compulsions and obsessions. Contact our clinic for more information or to book your appointment.