What is OCD?
OCD stands for “Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.” This anxiety disorder causes individuals to fixate on aspects of life that others would consider insignificant. These obsessions can involve anything from menial tasks to germs. The fixations are so intense that they cause compulsions that interfere with everyday life.
Some people misuse the term “OCD” to describe people who are finicky or particularly neat. However, such people may not have OCD at all. Misconceptions such as this can hurt people who live with OCD. The cavalier use of the term OCD belittles the real and extreme trouble that people with OCD experience. It may also discourage some people with the disorder from getting the help they need.
What Are Obsessive Thoughts and Compulsions?
People who live with OCD have intrusive and obsessive thoughts about things that others don’t think twice about, such as flicking a light switch. In that example, an individual with OCD may believe that they must turn that switch on and off a certain number of times to avoid some unrelated catastrophe. If they do not perform the task that many times, their anxiety levels rise higher. As such, they are compelled to complete the task, which is a compulsion.
OCD can cause other types of obsessive thoughts and compulsions as well. For example, people may be compelled to organize objects in peculiar categories or avoid specific colors.
Obsessive thoughts can also intrude on a person’s relationships. For example, a husband with OCD may obsess on his wife cheating, even if there is no evidence of it.
OCD Treatment Options
Patients with OCD can utilize therapy, medication, or both to gain control over their symptoms.
Talk therapy techniques that work well for OCD include::
- Group therapy
- Individual therapy
- Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) therapy
Sometimes patients also need medication to cope with OCD and reduce symptoms. Depending on the patient’s wishes and needs, they may need medication for the short-term while they work through things in therapy, or for a longer time.
Common medications for OCD include:
- Paroxetine (Paxil, Pexeva)
- Fluoxetine (Prozac)
- Clomipramine (Anafranil)
- Sertraline (Zoloft)
Telehealth for OCD
Patients do not need to visit mental health care providers in-person in order to get treatment for OCD. We offer telepsychiatry and teletherapy appointments with secure video conferencing. You can connect to a licensed mental health expert who can diagnose, treat, and prescribe medication for OCD.