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Understanding OCD

Do you like things in a particular order? Does it bother you when things are a little out of order? Do you complain that your OCD is kicking in? Well, let me tell you something. Those things do not mean you have Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD).

We all have moments of obsession. Sometimes, they can be more trivial, like loving a new song on the radio. The obsessions can be more serious, like worrying about getting sick or paying bills. The difference is in the amount of time you spend on those obsessions. For someone without OCD, these obsessions easily come and go with little effect on their daily functioning. For someone suffering from OCD, their obsessions often overtake them and run how their day turns out.

So, let’s break down what OCD truly is.


To begin, obsessions are often intrusive thoughts that ignite a large amount of anxiety. This anxiety typically gets in the way of every day functioning and leads to the compulsions. These thoughts cannot be rationalized with logic. Some of the more common obsessions center around contamination, germs, symmetry, and neatness.


Compulsions are the actions people do in order to help the thoughts subside. Most of the time, people with OCD know the compulsions will not stop the intrusive thoughts. Nonetheless, continue to engage in the behaviors to gain even a small bit of relief. Many common compulsions include cleaning, repeating, checking, and rearranging.

In addition, it’s important to remember that not every ritualistic behavior is considered a compulsion. Actions become symptoms to this disorder when the continually disrupt every day functioning. They are unwanted by the person. No one wants to continually repeat behaviors in hopes to gain relief from disruptive thoughts. Therefore, people with OCD do not feel as if they have an option.


What actually causes OCD is unknown. However, many studies have shown there may be a neurological malfunction in communication between different parts of the brain. Furthermore, there is more research being done on a possible genetic factor. However, nothing has been completely proven. Other causes may include different cognitive, behavioral, and environmental perspectives or experiences. In addition, most people working to find a definitive cause agree that it is a combination of many of the above ideas that form a diagnosable set of OCD symptoms.


The good news is that OCD can be treated and controlled. The most common and effective form of treatment is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, or CBT. CBT focuses on how someone thinks, feels, and behaves. Often in conjunction with therapy, medication can also be helpful. Psychiatrists can provide various types of SSRIs or antidepressants to help combat some of the intrusive thought in attempts to maximize the effect of therapy.

All in all, OCD is an excruciating disorder to have to deal with. It’s time consuming and taxing on everyone involved. I urge you to remember this the next time you want to make a comment about ‘your OCD’ because your room is a little messy. Flippant comments like that can be hurtful to those around you secretly suffering from this disorder.

If you or someone you know is suffering and is ready to begin conquering their OCD, give us a call! Amy Wine Counseling Center is ready to help!


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