Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Obsessive-compulsive disorder is a painful and sometimes debilitation mental health disorder. When you have OCD, it may seem like your life is ruled by your obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors. Feeling out of control in your own mind is extremely frightening and emotionally exhausting. You might feel like you’re trapped in a cycle of anxious thoughts and behaviors, and even if you know that something’s wrong, you just can’t stop.

OCD can make life so challenging, but support is available. Therapy is an excellent resource for people who are struggling with OCD or other forms of anxious thoughts or behaviors. By exploring and unpacking your thought patterns in counseling, you can start to reclaim control over your life.

What Is Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder OCD?

OCD is a mental health disorder with two key components: obsessions and compulsions. Obsessions are anxious, intrusive thoughts that feel impossible to let go of. Some people with OCD experience obsessions about germs, cleanliness, or contamination. Others obsess about objects being arranged in a specific way. OCD can also cause obsessions about accidentally hurting someone or doing something morally wrong. Obsessions take on a wide variety of forms, but they all cause intense anxiety and discomfort.
Compulsions are the behaviors that you engage in to try to make the obsessions go away. Sometimes, compulsions are directly linked to the obsessive thought. For example, if you have obsessions about contamination, you might feel a compulsion to wash your hands every few minutes. In other cases, though, OCD compulsions don’t have a clear link to the obsessive thought. For instance, you might have to repeat a sequence of words so that your family doesn’t get hurt.
Engaging in the compulsion brings a short sense of relief from the obsessive thought. However, this relief doesn’t usually last long. The obsession eventually comes back, prompting you to repeat the behavior. Some people with OCD become so trapped in the cycle that they repeat their compulsive behaviors hundreds of times per day.
OCD can disrupt your daily activities and destroy your quality of life. When you spend so much time every day engaging in your compulsions, you can’t enjoy your life to the fullest. Even when you appear to be present and happy, you might be battling the obsessive thoughts inside your mind. OCD is relentless, and professional mental health support is usually needed to overcome the symptoms.

Symptoms of OCD

OCD is a complicated and varied disorder. No two people have exactly the same experience with OCD, which is why so many people go undiagnosed and untreated. Obsessions and compulsions can take on a wide range of forms, so not every sign or symptom of OCD may resonate with you. However, there are some common experiences among people with OCD. The following are some key OCD symptoms that may be familiar to you if you have the disorder:

Managing OCD With Therapy

OCD is usually considered a lifelong disorder. You may not be able to cure your OCD or eliminate your obsessions and compulsions completely, but you can learn to manage them with therapy. Counseling helps you better understand your own thought processes so that you can take control of your mind instead of your mind controlling you.
One of the most common forms of therapy for OCD is cognitive behavioral therapy. The idea behind cognitive behavioral therapy for OCD is that the symptoms develop as a result of unhealthy thought patterns that become ingrained in your mind. These thinking patterns can be very painful, so you react to them with unhealthy or unhelpful behaviors. By addressing the negative thinking habits, you can break free from your harmful behaviors.
In cognitive behavioral therapy, you take a highly active role in the process. You and your therapist will explore your thought processes and how those thoughts impact your emotions and your behavior. Then, you’ll start to identify the problems in your thinking patterns, which takes away their power. When you can dismiss a negative thought as faulty, illogical, or unnecessary, you won’t experience such a strong reaction to it. Your therapist may give you “homework” so that you can practice applying these concepts in your daily life.
Exposure and response prevention (ERP) is a highly effective form of cognitive behavioral therapy, especially for those with OCD. Your OCD symptoms may be triggered by very specific situations, thoughts, images, or objects. With support from your therapist, you’ll gradually be exposed to your OCD triggers while choosing not to engage in the compulsive behavior.

Another common therapeutic method for treating OCD is mindfulness, which is the practice of being completely engaged in the present moment without lingering on the past or worrying about the future. If you have OCD, you may find yourself constantly thinking about the bad things that may happen and what you can do to prevent them. Mindfulness encourages you to acknowledge the thoughts that cross your mind without judgment. You don’t have to suppress your negative thoughts or emotions, but you don’t let them take control of you. You simply notice them and let them pass by. This can be incredibly difficult at first, but it starts to feel more natural with practice.

OCD is a challenging mental health condition, but support is available. If you’re looking for an OCD therapist in Los Angeles, Menachem Psychotherapy Group is here to help. We offer therapy for OCD so that you can take control of your thoughts and let go of your compulsive behaviors. Reach out to us today to connect with an OCD therapist in Los Angeles.


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