Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is an often-misunderstood mental health condition. While many people relate it to attention to detail or a need for cleanliness, the actual reality for people living with OCD is rarely that simple.
More accurately, mental health professionals recognize OCD by its hallmark of obsessive, unwanted thoughts. In these cases, people feel driven to act on these compulsions, even if they know that these behaviors cannot logically affect the world around them. For example, an individual may have obsessive thoughts telling them to take a long shower before work each morning or risk having a car accident. Even if the individual can tell that there is no worldly correlation between these two events, they may feel forced to follow the compulsion anyway.
As you might imagine, this can greatly hinder daily life for people with OCD. Because OCD can be so disturbing and burdensome for its sufferers, mental health treatment is uniformly encouraged for people in this situation. But before we discuss treatment options, let’s look at the signs of obsessive-compulsive disorder.
As demonstrated above, intrusive thoughts serve as the primary sign of OCD. However, these intrusive thoughts are often more disturbing and jarring than most people realize.
People with OCD first develop obsessions, which are thoughts or impulses that recur often and feel outside of their control. And while “obsession” is a common word, these feelings go far beyond the everyday understanding of that word. While someone may be “obsessed” with a new TV show, they can still stop to go meet friends or go to work. If you have OCD, however, stepping away from your obsession can feel impossible until you have finished acting upon the impulse.
Often, individuals with OCD experience feelings of fear, disgust, or a compulsion to do act on their obsession in a specific manner. As a result, OCD tends to take a lot of time from people and stop them from leading active, healthy lives. The compulsion is how an individual feels compelled to react to their obsession, and compulsions can be as varied as the individuals themselves.
For example, a common obsession for individuals with OCD is concern over family and friends being injured. As a response to this obsession, they may develop a compulsion, or a behavior that will stop their obsession from happening. This can manifest as frequent hand washing, repeating body movements like blinking or touching, counting while performing tasks and ending on a self-designated “safe” number, or any number of other behaviors.
If these descriptions feel familiar to you, or a loved one has described similar experiences, then you may be looking at a case of OCD. Behavioral signs of OCD include staying home often, frequently canceling plans, or other forms of self-isolation.
Now that you have an understanding of what OCD is and how it manifests, it’s time to consider the causes of obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Currently, there are no proven causes of OCD. However, some preliminary research does point to a few possible risk factors. These include:
Ultimately, nobody has a proven way to prevent the development of OCD. Instead, we must focus on treating those who live with this condition and work to improve their quality of life.
In severe cases of OCD, following compulsions can take hours each day, making living with untreated OCD a time-consuming process. Because this mental health condition becomes such a staple in everyday life, one of the most effective ways to treat it is through inpatient mental health programming. In this way, you’ll be able to replace your unhealthy daily patterns with more constructive behaviors.
At The Blackberry Center, we employ several key therapeutic techniques to treat obsessive-compulsive disorder. Among these evidence-based treatments are:
Engaging in compulsive behaviors is not the sum of who you are. At The Blackberry Center, we value you as a unique individual in need of help. All you have to do is reach out.
If you have questions about our treatments for OCD, call our admissions specialists at 1-888-512-9802 or fill out a confidential contact form. Let us help you take back control of your life and begin on the path to mental health recovery.