The best treatment for obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) involves multiple treatment avenues that use a person-centered approach. If you have OCD, your treatment plan should reflect your unique needs and symptoms. Since OCD can affect each person differently, the best treatment should include multiple approaches that provide you with numerous coping skills.
What Is Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder?
OCD is a mental health disorder that involves intrusive and repetitive thoughts, which drive compulsive behaviors meant to control these distressing thoughts. The repetitive thoughts become obsessions and are generally distressing in nature. These thoughts can range from phobias about illnesses and germs to thinking that you will physically harm yourself or your loved ones.
Compulsions can accompany the thoughts as you try to control yourself and the world around you from the realities of your obsessive thoughts. You might realize that compulsive behaviors are irrational; however, you struggle to stop yourself from executing these compulsions. Compulsive behaviors can be external, like turning a lock a specific number of times before opening a door. Sometimes, compulsions are internal, like trying to “think away” your intrusive thoughts.
What Are the Signs and Symptoms of OCD?
OCD is considered a type of anxiety disorder since it is a maladaptive response to irrational fears and beliefs. You might have obsessions, compulsions, or a combination of the two depending upon your symptoms.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), OCD presents itself with the following signs and symptoms of either obsessions, compulsions, or both:
- Obsessions are repetitive, unwanted, and intrusive thoughts that cause a significant amount of anxiety. Common obsessions include:
- Fear of germs, contamination, and getting sick
- Unwanted, forbidden, or taboo thoughts revolving around sexual acts, religion, or harm
- Thoughts of violence or aggression towards yourself or others
- Ensuring that things are in a specific order or symmetrical
- Compulsions are repetitive behaviors occurring in response to obsessive thoughts. Often, you will realize that your behaviors are irrational and make no sense, yet you cannot stop seem to stop yourself. Common compulsions associated with OCD include:
- Excessive hand-washing and cleaning
- Arranging and ordering personal belongings in a specific manner
- Repeatedly checking things like making sure your doors are locked or that your oven is turned off
- Compulsive counting and preoccupation with specific numbers
Some of these behaviors might not be a sign of OCD. For example, everyone checks on safety issues, like locking the door or ensuring that the oven is off. With OCD, these behaviors consume significant amounts of time and add to a person’s stress. Common behaviors of those with OCD include:
- Knowing that your thoughts and behaviors are excessive or irrational, yet you feel that you cannot control them
- Spending at least one hour each day focused on obsessive thoughts or engaging in compulsive behaviors
- Not enjoying the compulsive behaviors but feeling a brief sense of relief from your anxiety
- These symptoms cause significant distress and problems in your life, possibly preventing you from forming healthy relationships or finding meaningful activities to bring value to your life
If you feel like you cannot live the life you want due to excessive worrying over intrusive thoughts or expending energy on irrational behaviors, you might need treatment for OCD.
Additionally, you might experience co-occurring disorders accompanying OCD. Often, OCD symptoms can make you feel ashamed and contribute to low self-esteem. These negative feelings could cause you to feel depressed or overly anxious. You might use drugs and alcohol to self-medicate your symptoms.
The Best Treatment for OCD
OCD can be treated successfully with a combination of therapeutic approaches. The best treatment for OCD depends upon what works best for you. As the driver of your treatment plan, you can explore multiple avenues of treatment to find the best approach.
OCD treatment includes:
- Individual, family, or group therapy sessions
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
- Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)
- Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR)
- Psychiatric medications
- Yoga, meditation, and other mindfulness activities
- Massage therapy and acupuncture
- Outdoor recreation and other experiential therapies
- Nutritional guidance and healthy eating
- Exercise and healthy sleep habits
OCD Treatment in South Florida
Finding the best treatment for OCD can help you heal and live a rewarding life. At Neuroscience Institute in South Florida, we are here to help you or your loved one overcome OCD through a comprehensive and individualized treatment plan. Call us or visit our admissions page today to learn more.