If you’re looking for a psychiatrist “near me” for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, you might be experiencing intrusive thoughts, obsessive thinking, or compulsive behavior that is becoming difficult to control. The good news is, if you think you might be experiencing Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), you are not alone—in fact, in the United States today, it’s estimated that nearly 3 million adults experience this mental disorder.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder is a mental health condition that affects people in different ways. Some people with OCD experience unwanted thoughts or feelings (obsessions), while others repeatedly engage in behaviors or rituals (compulsions) to try and control these thoughts. Today, OCD is understood to be a very treatable condition, but only if it is properly diagnosed and managed. In this article, we will discuss the symptoms of OCD, who can suffer from this condition, and the various treatment options that are available.
What Is Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder?
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a type of disordered thinking characterized by a cyclical pattern of obsessive thinking and ritualistic behavior to try to control the intrusive thoughts. An example of this might be obsessively checking that the burner is turned off on your stove before leaving your house, more times than is necessary—or repeatedly checking to make sure your front door is locked. Generally, OCD will center around a theme, or a root fear that drives the compulsive behavior.
Who Discovered Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder?
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder has been puzzling psychiatrists and psychologists since the early 1600s. It wasn’t until 1868 that a German psychiatrist and neurologist by the name of Wilhelm Griesinger published several case studies of the disorder, which he dubbed a ruminatory or doubting illness. It wasn’t until the mid-20th century that the name “Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder” was coined, after many psychiatrists (including Sigmund Freud) attempted to pinpoint its root causes, triggers, and symptoms.
What Are the Symptoms of OCD?
While people who experience OCD often participate in ritualistic, self-soothing behaviors to try to eliminate negative thoughts or fears, they are generally able to recognize that a thought or behavior is irrational. Symptoms of obsessive behavior include:
· Trouble tolerating uncertainty
· Intrusive, graphic thoughts of harming yourself or others after “losing control”
· Distress when things aren’t orderly, alphabetical, symmetrical, etc.
· Unwanted sexual thoughts or aggressive thoughts
· Avoidance of triggers, like avoiding driving for fear of crashing and hurting someone
· Fear of “contamination” by dirt, germs, or otherwise “unclean” thoughts or materials
The mental side of OCD is only part of the battle, however—coupled with the intrusive, unwanted thoughts comes ritualistic behavior. Examples of compulsive behavior include:
· Excessive hand washing or cleaning
· Never deviating from a scheduled routine
· Repeatedly asking for reassurance
· Repeatedly checking light switches, irons, stoves, locked doors, etc
· Arranging furniture, pantry staples, hygiene products, etc. a certain way, such as so that all labels are perfectly faced forward
When Does OCD Start?
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder typically rears its head in teen or early adult years—though it has been known to start as early as childhood. It’s important to note that simply preferring things to be in a certain order or double-checking your light switch is off on your way to work might not be indicative of full-blown OCD—but the severity of symptoms does vary. If you notice that you are triggered by certain events or circumstances and behave “irrationally” or ruminate uncontrollably, you may want to seek help from a qualified psychiatrist to better manage your symptoms.
Why Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Occurs
This disorder has been puzzling psychiatrists for hundreds of years, and we’re still not sure about the exact cause of OCD. It is thought that it could be due to environmental triggers, brain abnormalities, or even genetics—and it is often comorbid with other anxiety disorders, depression, substance abuse, or eating disorders.
Can OCD Be Cured?
The short answer to this question is “no,” there is no one cure for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder; however, symptoms can be managed with regular treatment and psychiatric care. Before a patient can be diagnosed with OCD, however, they must first participate in a psychological evaluation, a physical exam, and compare their symptoms to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) as published by the American Psychiatric Association.
OCD can sometimes be tricky to diagnose due to its overlap of symptoms with conditions like anxiety disorders, depression, or even schizophrenia. OCD can also appear along with another comorbid mental health condition. In fact, this is startlingly common, in a jaw-dropping 90% of OCD patients.
What Is the Treatment for OCD?
When it comes to treating OCD, there are several different approaches a patient might take. One of these approaches is psychotherapy (typically Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or CBT, or Exposure and Response Prevention or ERP). CBT focuses on targeting the distortions of reality that may be influencing negative thinking patterns and offers opportunities for the patient to reframe their thought, challenge it, or both. ERP involves exposing a patient to their root fear (for example, dirt) and learning ways to manage the impulse to perform ritualistic behaviors.
There are also some medications that can be prescribed for OCD—typically antidepressants like Zoloft, Prozac, or Anafranil. However, some psychiatrists will prescribe other antidepressants or psychiatric medicines so that the patient can work towards recovery at the lowest possible dosage.
For those with more severe symptoms that cannot be managed with antidepressant medications alone, there are other options. One of these options is Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) which relies on implanted electrodes sending electrical impulses to regulate abnormal impulses. Another form of treatment is outpatient care or treatment facilities typically lasting a few weeks where patients can go and meet other people experiencing similar experiences, learn coping mechanisms, and reset their behavior. Finally, a patient may opt for Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS), which relies on magnetic fields to activate nerve cells in the brain. This electromagnetic pulse is administered through a noninvasive procedure and has been found to be effective in managing symptoms of OCD patients ages 22-68.
Psychiatrist Near Me for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder is sometimes called the “doubting disease” or “rumination disease” due to the cognitive nature of the disorder. Even while patients may be experiencing intrusive thoughts or participating in self-soothing, ritualistic, impulsive behavior, they are likely able to logically conclude that there is no rational reason for their behavior—or as the English cleric Jeremy Taylor once described it back in 1660, OCD is “trouble where the trouble is over, a doubt when doubts are resolved.”
If you think you may be experiencing symptoms of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, it’s important to know that you aren’t alone. Because this mental disorder is so often comorbid with other maladies like anxiety or depression, it’s crucial that you seek care from a qualified medical professional right away. Don’t wait for OCD to diminish your quality of life; take back control and speak to a psychiatrist at Delray Beach Psychiatry today!