As a culture, we seem to have more respect and regard for those dealing with mental illness than we did even just 10 years ago. Depression and anxiety, a couple of the most prevalent mental illnesses, certainly carry less stigma than they did in the past. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case across the board.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder, or OCD, is often treated as more of a punchline than a debilitating and chronic mental illness. Odds are you’ve heard someone say they have OCD because they check their phone too often or need to have their jacket zipper in perfect position. Online quizzes ask respondents to find out “how OCD” they are, and in 2018, Khloe Kardashian co-opted the term for her “Khlo-C-D” cleaning and organization acts.
Despite these examples, OCD can derail your life once its compulsive behaviors and recurring thoughts take over. But with a good treatment plan, you can live a complete and healthy life with OCD.
Do you think you may be showing symptoms from OCD? Come visit the team at Boston Neurobehavioral Associates. Our practice aims to provide comprehensive outpatient behavioral health and psychiatric care for adults. Mohammad Munir, MD and the rest of our staff will work with you to create an integrative treatment plan to treat your unique needs and ultimately help you control and overcome OCD.
What is OCD?
OCD can be categorized by its two symptoms: obsession, which are repeated unwanted thoughts or sensations, and compulsions, which are urges to do something over and over again. Some patients only suffer from one symptom while others experience both.
Many people suffer OCD that is centered around certain themes, like contamination and germs. It’s also more than washing your hands multiple times per day or always putting on new socks when you arrive home. Habits and thoughts that are the product of OCD usually have at least one of the following characteristics:
- Take up at least an hour a day
- Are beyond control
- Aren’t enjoyable or painful
- Interfere with work, social activities, or other parts of everyday life
People with OCD often know that their actions and thoughts are irrational but cannot beat the uncontrollable urge to engage in these ritualistic behaviors.
What causes OCD?
At this time, there is no known direct cause for OCD. Scientists believe that it’s linked to abnormalities in certain parts of the brain, but it’s unclear why these irregularities trigger the behaviors and thoughts associated with OCD.
The root cause of OCD is not known but there is a well-established list of risk factors, including:
- Family history of OCD
- Childhood trauma
- Severe infections
- Other mental illnesses including depression and eating disorders
Most people begin to experience symptoms before age 20 and OCD rarely develops in people over 35.
Living with OCD
At Boston Neurobehavioral Associates, we’ll customize your OCD treatment plan to fit the severity of your symptoms and your medical history. Several medications have shown success in treating OCD and we prefer serotonin reuptake inhibitors, which can enhance your brain chemical function for symptom relief.
We may also recommend psychotherapy to help reverse habits and teach you how to control your thoughts. Psychotherapy can also teach you new habits and lifestyle changes that make it easier to control your symptoms. Stress reduction and support groups have been shown to quell symptoms as well.
If you think you may have OCD, you don’t have to suffer any longer. Contact us today by calling one of our offices or using our convenient online form to request an appointment.