Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a serious disorder that can impact your everyday life, including school, work, relationships, and even simple, daily functions. It is a type of anxiety disorder characterized by excessive unwanted thoughts, urges, images, or fears (obsessions) that are distressing to the person experiencing them. To alleviate this distress, they often begin engaging in repetitive physical and/or mental behaviors (compulsions). These compulsions, while temporarily alleviating their distress in the short term, reinforce the OCD. Unless it is stopped, this cycle will lead to a worsening of OCD over time.

The obsessions and compulsions a person may experience often, but not always, revolve around a theme or “core fear”. OCD can present itself in a wide variety of ways, and it is common for fears or themes to change and fluctuate throughout a person’s life. Some common themes include (but are certainly not limited to) contamination fears, hyper-responsibility, health-related, perfectionism or “just right” symptoms, religious or moral obsessions, and magical thinking.

While OCD is treatable, it is unfortunately often undiagnosed or misdiagnosed. It is important to first receive an accurate diagnosis from a professional who is familiar with the nuances of OCD. Following diagnosis, treatment options include Exposure-Response Prevention (ERP) and Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SRI) medications.

We explore the complexities and nuances of OCD in our blog posts.

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