Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

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Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

What is OCD?

OCD stands for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. In order to be diagnosed with OCD, someone will experience obsessions, compulsions, or both. OCD can be seen in about 1-2% of the population, and is also seen in patients with depression, PTSD, ADHD, and other diagnoses.

Call 866-DOC-LEON to speak with a specialist at the Center for Emotional Fitness and get started on your path towards addressing OCD or another condition.

What is an Obsession?

An obsession is defined as an unwanted, involuntary thought that causes anxiety or worry. Examples of these thoughts are:

I’m dirty

I’m going to get sick

I’m going to get somebody else sick

Concerns with contamination

I’m going to hurt someone even though I’d never want to hurt anyone

I’m going to be responsible for a disaster or a fire

Something bad is going to happen

Fear of losing control

Religious obsessions

Unwanted violent or sexual thoughts
Needing to know or remember things


Fear of losing things


Nearly everyone experiences intermittent involuntary thoughts, but these thoughts can be called obsessions when the intensity of the thoughts or the amount of time spent on the thoughts starts to interfere with your day. Sometimes, when these obsessions are bothersome, someone might develop routine, rituals, actions, or avoidance to “undo” the thought. These actions are called compulsions.

What is a Compulsion?

A compulsion in OCD is an action done excessively to decrease anxiety. Examples of compulsions are:

Excessive handwashing

Excessive showering or excessive bathing

Excessive cleaning

Ordering things

Checking things

Repeating things or rewriting things

Arranging things in a particular way

Saying things out loud a certain way

Saying things in our heads in a certain way

Counting things

Performing actions in a certain way

Doing things a certain number of times

Counting letters

Making sure things are “even” or feel “just right”

“Evening up” actions

“Undoing” things or “Cancelling” things

Avoiding places

Avoiding words

Avoiding other things in a particular way

Religious activities must be performed in a particular way and excessively with extra care

Excessive prayer


Treatment for OCD

There are two popular approaches for OCD, medication and therapy. Additionally, there is transcranial magnetic stimulation, which was approved in 2018 by the FDA for OCD. Another approach, usually reserved for severe cases that don’t respond to other treatments, is deep brain stimulation. Depending on the level of severity of the symptoms, a therapist or psychiatrist will recommend a treatment targeted for your particular symptoms.

The National Institute of Mental Health details these treatments and more on their site about OCD.

More information about OCD is provided by the International OCD Foundation.

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