Those who are plagued by Obsessive Compulsive Disorder symptoms have persistent, repetitive thoughts that they cannot control. These thoughts, worries, or obsessions, upset them and their belief is that if they perform certain behaviors, rituals or compulsions, they will be able to get their anxiety or fear over these thoughts to dissipate. However what happens is that they cannot stop repeating the behavioral rituals and thus become controlled by their fears.
Examples of common obsessive compulsive disorder symptoms and the rituals that follow are:
- An obsession with germs or dirt – Results in the compulsion to wash hands repeatedly, shower excessively, avoid touching, etc.
- An obsession with intruders – Results in frequent checking behaviors such as a compulsion to lock and relock doors, windows, etc.
- An obsession with social approval – May drive people with obsessive compulsive disorder to look in the mirror to fix their hair, makeup and clothing endlessly, to the point that they cannot look away from the mirror.
They do not gain any pleasure from performing these rituals. The only thing accomplished is temporary relief from the anxiety or fear that accompanies their obsessive worries.
Other obsessive compulsive disorder symptoms may involve rituals or compulsions that are:
- A compulsion to repeatedly check things
- The compulsion to touch things in a certain way in a particular order
- The need to count things over and over
Some common obsession compulsive disorder symptoms are:
- Fears about one’s safety
- Fears of being out of control
- Uncontrolled persistent thoughts of sexual acts
- Repetitive thoughts that are forbidden by one’s religion
People with obsessive compulsive disorder symptoms may be preoccupied with cleanliness, orderliness and symmetry and cannot relax and be comfortable until everything is immaculate and in perfect order. Others may be hoarders and imagine that everything has value and thus cannot be thrown out. They can end up living in unsanitary, unlivable conditions as a result.
What sets people with obsessive compulsive disorder symptoms apart from healthy people is that their rituals, say checking the stove repeatedly to make sure it’s turned off, interfere with their daily existence. They may not be able to leave home because of the need to check the stove again and again. They’re upset by this, but can’t help it. Most adults with obsessive compulsive disorder do understand that their worries are irrational, but are unable to stop it on their own.
There are about 2.2 million adults in the U.S. with obsessive compulsive disorder symptoms. Those with the disorder may also have an eating disorder, or suffer from another anxiety disorder, or depression. Both men and women suffer from obsessive compulsive disorder in nearly equal numbers. OCD usually shows up during childhood, teens or early twenties. Studies show that about one-third of adults with obsessive compulsive disorder symptoms started noticing symptoms when they were children and indications are that OCD may run in families.
There is no predictable course of the disorder. Someone can have symptoms that come and go. Symptoms may taper off over time or they can escalate and become worse. People who suffer severe cases of obsessive compulsive disorder symptoms can be housebound, unable to work or take care of normal responsibilities. People who attempt self-help will usually try to avoid situations that trigger their obsessions. The use of alcohol or drugs is another inappropriate way to calm the anxiety.
If someone with obsessive compulsive disorder symptoms seeks professional treatment there are several forms of psychotherapeutic desensitization therapy that have been shown to help. This involves helping people gradually face situations that trigger fear or anxiety to become less sensitive to them. In some cases medication may also be helpful. Addressing the underlying fears and learning skills to tolerate distress, dispute irrational fears and relaxation training have also been effective.
Because our treatment for obsessive compulsive disorder treatment program relies on evidence based practices, our Intensive Outpatient Program shares many common methods with other successful treatment methods. The foundation of our treatment program for relies on the principles of the stages of change, cognitive behavioral therapy, solution focused treatment, skills training and identifying repetitive dysfunctional behavioral relationship patterns to promote recovery from anxiety, depression and other mental health disorders. In fact, our Intensive Outpatient Program in Memphis, TN that has been proven to be effective in the treatment of these disorders in six peer reviewed treatment outcome studies. Our treatment center provides services to those who need more treatment than one hour a week, but less than 24 hour care, by providing three hours of treatment per day, three to five days per week, in an intensive outpatient setting. It is also important to keep in mind that women and men often experience depression differently and therefore the presence of depression may also appear differently based on gender. If you or a loved one is showing signs of depression or anxiety, including PTSD, they should be assessed by a trained mental health professional who can help design a treatment plan for depression that can result in recovery. Treatment for anxiety can be highly successful. People who have completed our program have provide very high consumer satisfaction scores and reviews. Call us at 901-682-6136 to schedule an appointment.