About 2.2 million American adults are living with obsessive-compulsive disorder, or OCD. OCD is a type of anxiety that’s characterized by persistent, unwanted thoughts that often trigger repetitive behaviors and compulsions.
Everyone has bothersome thoughts from time to time. But for people with OCD, those thoughts and the actions that come with them are frequent — and they’re often uncontrollable, unwanted, and deeply distressing.
OCD can cause unwanted thoughts and compulsions to quickly overtake your everyday life, but the good news is that treatment can make a difference. Our team at Boston Neurobehavioral Associates specializes in adult OCD, and we are here to help you take the first step towards improving your life and your mental wellbeing.
Recognizing symptoms of OCD
OCD is a complex mental health condition that features two main symptoms: obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors. People with OCD generally experience both intrusive thoughts and unwanted behaviors, and they often follow a theme, like fear of germs.
Signs of OCD obsessions
OCD obsessions are persistent, repetitive thoughts. These thoughts feel uncontrollable because they pop into your mind when you’re trying to focus on other things. No matter what you do, the thoughts don’t seem to go away.
Some common OCD obsessions include:
- Fear of contamination (from things like germs, dirt, or bodily fluids)
- Fear of losing control or becoming violent
- Fear of accidentally hurting someone
- Fear of forgetting something important
- Unwanted sexual thoughts
- Inability to make decisions
- Fixating on certain colors or numbers
- Need to have everything in a certain order
Many of the most common OCD obsessions include fears or visions of terrible things happening to you or the people around you. Since the thoughts feel out of your control, experiencing them may make you feel anxious, afraid, disgusted, or ashamed.
Signs of OCD compulsions
Compulsions are ritualistic actions that people with OCD often perform. Like obsessions, these compulsive behaviors feel uncontrollable and they can significantly impact your ability to function in daily life.
Common examples of OCD compulsions include:
- Checking and rechecking locks, appliances, or other things
- Excessive hand washing or cleaning
- Counting actions, objects, words, etc.
- Doing things a certain number of times
- Doing simple activities multiple times, like standing and sitting
- Rearranging objects to put them in the “right” order
Compulsive behavior isn’t exclusive to OCD. For example, people with addictions and other types of mental health disorders may also experience symptoms of compulsion.
No two people are the same, so there’s a wide variation in the type and severity of OCD symptoms. However, if any of these obsessions or compulsions sound familiar, you or your loved ones could be suffering from OCD.
Finding treatment for OCD
Our team at Boston Neurobehavioral Associates understands how invasive OCD can be in your daily life. We specialize in diagnosing and treating the condition, and your care starts with a comprehensive evaluation.
In general, OCD is diagnosed when obsessions and compulsions are present for an hour or more each day. We review your symptoms and your medical history to inform our diagnosis. If we identify OCD, we develop a personalized treatment plan based on the severity of your symptoms.
Many people find that a combination of cognitive behavioral therapy and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) medication effectively reduces their OCD symptoms. Medication eases OCD symptoms from a chemical perspective in your brain, while psychotherapy gives you tools to navigate and control your thoughts.
If you think you might have OCD, don’t wait to get an evaluation. Schedule your first appointment at Boston Neurobehavioral Associates online or on the phone today.