Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, commonly abbreviated as OCD, is a chronic anxiety disorder that causes an individual to experience an irresistible urge to do something over and over again.
OCD is more than a routine or a habit. This disorder will often disrupt a person’s daily functions since they are unable to continue with their day before submitting to their obsessions. Any sort of variance from these compulsive behaviors will cause an intense amount of stress on the individual, even if they logically realize that ignoring their urges will not be catastrophic.
What is an Obsession?
An obsession describes a repeated thought, impulse, or mental image that brings on a sudden fear or distress. Common types of obsessions in those with OCD include a need to be clean or free of contamination, a need to have items perfectly balanced and aligned, or to have unwanted thoughts of restricted topics such as sex or religion.
What is a Compulsion?
With OCD, a compulsion is the repetitive behavior that a person feels driven to perform in response to their obsession. For example, if an individual is obsessed with contamination, their compulsion would typically involve thoroughly washing their hands or a common surface many times a day.
As a person tries to resist their compulsions, their distress can build up to a boiling point wherein it feels as though they may actually die if they do not give in to their obsessions. Submitting to the compulsion may bring a moment of relief, but this is often immediately followed by feelings of shame and guilt for being unable to resist the repetitive behaviors once again, causing a vicious and unending cycle of anxiousness.
How Does Pediatrics 5280 Diagnose OCD?
Each case of obsessive-compulsive disorder is unique, even if patients share certain compulsions or obsessions. The technical definition that separates a routine habit from a compulsion is that compulsions:
- Consume at least one hour or more of the individual’s day
- Are uncontrollable
- Affect important daily functions such as social interactions or completing work
OCD is a common condition that affects a small percentage of the entire population. Those afflicted with this disorder will usually exhibit symptoms during childhood, but will not be diagnosed until their late teenage years. Screenings for OCD are very helpful at identifying key signs of the condition earlier in life, which can help individuals to develop and maintain positive coping mechanisms for their obsessions.
What Treatment Options Are There for OCD?
It is common practice to treat obsessive-compulsive disorder with a combination of medications and therapy. It may be necessary to try a few different medications in order to identify which one(s) work best for you.
There are also a few different methodologies regarding therapy for obsessive-compulsive disorder. Much of this will revolve around helping the patient develop proper coping skills when they encounter an obsession and feel the urge to respond with their compulsion. Both cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) and exposure and response prevention (EX/RP) have proven highly effective in dealing with the symptoms of OCD.
Still Have Questions? Ask Our Psychologist!
If you are concerned about your child and their obsessive-compulsive disorder, we encourage you to come in to see Dr. Natalie Vona, who specializes in counseling for both children and young adults. To schedule a consultation with Dr. Vona, please call Pediatrics 5280 at (303) 779-5437 today!