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Understanding and Treating OCD

Jun 06, 2023

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Understanding and Treating OCD

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is often misunderstood as just worrying about things being clean or organized properly. In reality, it involves so much more than that. OCD is a mental health condition that causes intrusive thoughts and repetitive behaviors, affecting 2.5 million people living in the United States.

At The Modalities Group in Bowie, Maryland, our team understands that OCD can affect your quality of life. That’s why we want to help you better understand the condition and know what treatment options are available for you.

Understanding OCD

OCD is a condition that features either unwanted thoughts (obsessions), repetitive behaviors (compulsions), or a combination of the two. Typically, the obsessions are what trigger the need for the compulsions to be carried out. OCD is a lifelong condition, and symptoms can become better or worse over time.

Although anyone can be affected by OCD, certain factors can put you at a higher risk for developing it. Those include childhood trauma, genetics, and having a condition that causes brain changes like Parkinson’s disease or epilepsy. 

While every case of OCD is different, the symptoms of it are typically divided into two categories: obsessions and compulsions.

Common obsessions include:

  • Fear of germs or dirt
  • Fear of harming others
  • Unwanted thoughts about sex
  • Need for constant reassurance
  • Fear of making mistakes

Because of these unwanted thoughts, you may feel the need to carry out compulsions in order to ward them off.

Common compulsions include:

  • Cleaning things often
  • Repeatedly checking to see if you’ve harmed others
  • Repeating rituals that involve numbers and counting
  • Constantly seeking reassurance
  • Saying certain words or phrases while doing unrelated tasks

You may also feel the need to avoid certain situations to offset triggering an obsession. For example, you may not want to touch doorknobs or shake other people’s hands to avoid germs.

Treating OCD

There is no cure for OCD, but, thankfully, there are many treatment options available for the condition. At The Modalities Group, we offer a few different therapy approaches to help you combat your OCD symptoms. 

The most effective and well-researched therapy technique that we offer is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT works by helping you identify thought patterns that negatively impact your behavior. By identifying these thought patterns, you can then work to change your thinking and change your behavior as a result.

Another approach derived from CBT is exposure and response prevention therapy (ERP). ERP exposes you to your triggers and helps you to not carry out the compulsion. By not carrying out the compulsion, your anxiety surrounding the obsessions and compulsions should start to lessen over time.

If you’re living with OCD and would like information on how we treat this condition, contact our friendly staff to set up an appointment with us. You can do this by giving our office a call at 301-701-5816 or by using our online scheduler today.