Treatment for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

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Most people exhibit some kind of obsessive or compulsive behavior in their lifetime. Some people may worry if they locked the front door or turned off the stove or fear that they left an appliance plugged in while on vacation. Many people use the term “obsessed” casually. However,  for people living with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), obsessions are an unwanted, unpleasant part of life.

Obsessive-compulsive disorder is a mental illness that causes persistent, unwanted thoughts that cause people to perform repetitive behaviors.  People with OCD often struggle to function, and their obsessions and compulsive behaviors can dominate their lives. Early diagnosis and treatment can give people with obsessive-compulsive disorder better outcomes.

This often misunderstood mental illness Is a chronic condition that people must learn to manage for the rest of their lives. Symptoms can come and go over a person’s lifetime, but people with OCD often require ongoing treatment and support to manage this condition.

If you or someone you love struggles with symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder, reach out to the Moving Mountains Recovery Specialists today to explore your mental health treatment options.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD): Signs and Symptoms

The primary symptoms of OCD are compulsions and obsessions that keep you from functioning in your daily life. Symptoms of OCD may prevent you from finishing work, getting where you need to go on time, and interfering in other ways throughout your day.

Obsessions

In obsessive-compulsive disorder, obsessions are defined as intrusive, unwanted thoughts or mental images that can cause distress or anxiety. People with obsessive-compulsive disorder have no control over these thoughts and often realize they are irrational.

Some examples of OCD obsessions include:

  • Fear of germs or dirt
  • Worry that you’ll act on a violent impulse
  • Unwanted sexual thoughts or imagery
  • Anxiety about making a mistake
  • Excessive concern about “right” and “wrong”
  • Desire for perfection, symmetry, or cleanliness
  • A constant need for reassurance

Compulsions

Compulsions are repetitive actions people feel they must do to eliminate obsessive thoughts. People with OCD do not want to perform these actions but feel they must in order to reduce their anxiety. After completing the action, people may experience some relief– but the obsessive thoughts will return.

For some with OCD, completing these compulsive behaviors can take up a lot of time. They may even prevent people from doing other things they need or want to do throughout the day.

Some examples of compulsions include:

  • Arranging items in a particular way, such as items on a bookshelf or in a closet
  • Excessive hand-washing or bathing
  • Hoarding items that do not have personal or financial value
  • Checking and rechecking light switches, door locks, or other things
  • Excessive checking to make sure you haven’t hurt someone
  • Performing rituals related to numbers, such as doing tasks a certain number of times, avoiding or preferring specific numbers, or counting actions, steps, etc.
  • Repeating words, chants, or prayers while performing unrelated actions
  • Avoiding shaking hands or touching frequently touched items, like light switches and door handles

People with obsessive-compulsive disorder may understand their symptoms are a problem but cannot stop. The symptoms of OCD can fluctuate, getting better sometimes and worsening in others.

The Relationship Between OCD and Addiction

OCD and addiction share certain similarities in their underlying mechanisms and can sometimes co-occur in individuals. OCD is characterized by persistent, intrusive, and distressing thoughts (obsessions) and repetitive behaviors or mental acts (compulsions) aimed at reducing anxiety or preventing a feared event. Addiction, on the other hand, involves a compulsive engagement in a substance or behavior despite adverse consequences.

The relationship between OCD and addiction is complex. Some individuals with OCD may develop addictive behaviors as a way to cope with the distress caused by their obsessions. For example, they might use substances like drugs or alcohol to temporarily alleviate anxiety. Conversely, individuals struggling with addiction may exhibit OCD-like rituals or compulsive behaviors related to their substance use, such as checking, counting, or hoarding.

Neurobiologically, both conditions involve dysregulation of reward and pleasure centers in the brain. Dysfunction in neurotransmitter systems like serotonin and dopamine is implicated in both disorders, potentially contributing to their co-occurrence.

It’s crucial to address both OCD and addiction concurrently in treatment, as one condition can exacerbate the other. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and medication can be effective for OCD, while addiction treatment often involves counseling, support groups, and sometimes medication.

Treatment for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Obsessive-compulsive disorder is a complex condition, and mental health experts do not fully understand what causes it. However, many believe that several factors may lead someone to develop OCD, including:

  • Genetics
  • Changes in the frontal cortex of the brain
  • PANDAS syndrome resulting from streptococcal infections as a child
  • Childhood trauma

Obsessive-compulsive disorder is often a lifelong condition. However, treatment can help people manage their symptoms and live more comfortably with ocd. OCD treatment in New Jersey typically involves psychotherapy and medications.

People with OCD May benefit from several types of psychotherapy, including cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), exposure and response prevention therapy (ERP), and acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT). These forms of therapy can help people reframe their thoughts and diminish the power of their obsessions,  which can reduce compulsive behaviors.

People with obsessive-compulsive disorder may also experience reduced symptoms by taking serotonin reuptake inhibitors, selective SSRIs, and tricyclic antidepressants. These medications can provide effective relief and help people manage their obsessions. Most people with OCD experience the benefits of medications 8 to 12 weeks after starting them.

It is crucial to participate in a comprehensive, holistic OCD treatment program and find ongoing support in the community. The tools to manage OCD are available. Early diagnosis and treatment is the key to a healthier, happier life with obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Find OCD Treatment in New Jersey

If you or someone in your life requires OCD treatment in New Jersey, contact the Moving Mountains recovery team for support. Our specialists will design a personalized treatment plan that can allow you to manage your symptoms and find more freedom in your daily life.

You do not have to live with the symptoms of your OCD. Get the treatment you deserve. Contact us now to get started.

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