Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a mental disorder that can affect people of all ages. OCD is a disorder that causes anxiety – specifically, those with OCD have unwanted and repeated thoughts, feelings, or images (obsessions) that make them feel anxious or uncomfortable. This anxiety or discomfort is relieved by doing certain things over and over again (compulsions), such as washing their hands, checking door locks, or counting. They find no pleasure in doing these activities, but rather they feel a need to do them, otherwise, the anxiety will get worse.
Although OCD can be a very challenging disorder to live with, there are many treatments available that can help people manage their symptoms. Let’s discuss what OCD is, the symptoms of OCD, how it is treated, and where you can go in Atlanta and Alpharetta to receive treatment for OCD from an experienced family counselor.
Symptoms of OCD
The symptoms of OCD can vary from person to person, but they typically fall into one (or more) of these four categories:
- Contamination obsessions: This includes a compulsive fear of or aversion to dirt, germs, toxins, wetness, or other contaminants (or perceived contaminants). People with this type of OCD may obsessively wash their hands or clean surfaces in an attempt to avoid contamination.
- Checking obsessions: This type of obsession is characterized by frequently or repetitively checking something, such as checking the stove to make sure it’s off or making sure a door is locked.
- Symmetry obsessions: This refers to an extreme and constant need for symmetry, order, and precision. People with this type of OCD may have compulsions such as straightening objects or repeatedly arranging items in a certain way.
- Unacceptable thoughts obsessions: This includes the fear that one will act on their own impulses to harm others, or have sexually inappropriate thoughts.
How Is OCD Treated?
There are many different treatment options available for OCD, and the best course of treatment will depend on your own preferences and your response to the treatment (i.e., whether it works for you). Some common treatments for OCD include:
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
CBT is a type of therapy that helps people identify and change negative thought patterns and behaviors. A CBT session is led by a licensed professional counselor, therapist, or family counselor, the latter of which can be helpful for addressing OCD in children and families.
CBT for OCD typically includes exposure and response prevention (ERP), which is a process of gradually exposing oneself to their fears in a safe and controlled environment – and then learning how to resist the urge to engage in compulsions. For instance, your counselor may ask you to touch something dirty and then resist the urge to wash your hands immediately afterward. Over time, you will get more used to the exposure and can control your reaction when you encounter the same thing in your daily life.
There are several prescription medications that can be effective in treating OCD, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and anti-anxiety medications. These medications help increase the level of serotonin in the brain, which is a “happy hormone” that helps to regulate anxiety.
Complementary and alternative therapies can be used alongside traditional therapies to improve outcomes. Some patients find that practicing mindfulness, meditation, or other alternative therapies helps them control their OCD symptoms.
Family Counselor for OCD in Atlanta and Alpharetta
If you or someone you know is dealing with obsessive-compulsive disorder, obsessive thoughts, or compulsive behavior, the family counselors at Atlanta Specialized Care are here to help. We offer counseling for OCD by experienced family counselors who understand the challenges of this disorder, and we know how to tailor your treatment to your individual needs and preferences.
Call us today at (770) 815-6853 to schedule an appointment, so we can help you or your loved one manage OCD symptoms and live a healthier life. You can also fill out our appointment request form online now. We look forward to treating you and helping you manage your symptoms so you can live life to the fullest!