What Can I Do About My OCD?
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Here is a staggering statistic regarding obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD): approximately 2% of the world’s general population has OCD. Considering that the current global population is roughly eight billion people, it means that roughly 160 million people currently struggle with OCD. This statistic really puts the prevalence of OCD in perspective, doesn’t it?
It also puts into perspective the high demand for proper and adequate care for all those struggling with OCD. The good news is that many evidence-based treatment options can help people mitigate and treat their OCD symptoms. Some of these treatments may include clinical practices like psychotherapy and/or medication-based treatment, while others can be done outside of a clinical setting. Tools and techniques such as yoga, breathwork, and meditation can bolster the efficacy of evidence-based help.
For those struggling with OCD, know that there is hope. By finding and reading this article, you have already taken pivotal steps in recognizing your mental health disorder and deciding to do something about it. Such brave steps should never be minimized. Now it is time to take action and advocate for your wellness.
Understanding What Exactly OCD Is
The first step in understanding OCD is getting a technical grasp on what it is. This is necessary because, like many mental health disorders, OCD and its symptoms can often be confused or mistaken for other diagnoses.
Improper diagnosis can be dangerous as it may prevent people who truly have OCD from being taken seriously. For example, occasionally feeling like one left something on at home or simply enjoying an orderly or organized home does not necessarily equate to having OCD. These are merely personal choices or minor anxieties, not to be confused with a very real disorder. It is common for people to casually say they are OCD without really understanding what that entails.
According to the peer-reviewed journal Nature Reviews and Disease Primers, “OCD is characterized by the presence of obsessions and/or compulsions. Obsessions are repetitive and persistent thoughts, images, impulses, or urges that are intrusive and unwanted, and are commonly associated with anxiety. Compulsions are repetitive behaviors or mental acts that the individual feels driven to perform in response to an obsession according to rigid rules, or to achieve a sense of ‘completeness.’” In other words, those with OCD can become fixated on certain things or thoughts that in some way “force” them to perform a certain behavior to get rid of those fixations.
Equipped with a better understanding of what clinically constitutes OCD, it’s time to discover some effective treatment options.
Some At-Home Treatment Options for OCD
For those struggling with symptoms that may amount to OCD, it is critical to get a professional assessment and diagnosis. Mental disorders are just as serious as physical ailments, so getting the proper care is critical.
Depending on the severity, a professional assessment may determine that an individual’s OCD symptoms simply warrant outside or “at home” care. Some of these more common symptoms include, but are not limited to:
- Having an unfounded and exaggerated fear of dirt, diseases, and germs
- Exhibiting behaviors that include excessive and repetitive checking that things are in their right place and are properly functioning
- Having intrusive thoughts, which can sometimes be violent or sexual in nature
- Showing slowed or delayed behaviors, actions, and reactions
- Being unduly concerned with balance, organization, and symmetry
If these symptoms are present but not extreme, a professional may recommend at-home or outpatient counseling. They may also suggest joining a support group that specializes in OCD. In addition, they may recommend nutritional or dietary changes, techniques for stress reduction such as meditation, and interacting with others outside of the home on a more regular basis.
Some Clinical Treatment Options for OCD
The truth is that when it comes to OCD, most professionals tend to recommend and prescribe more intensive clinical solutions. These options can take place in both inpatient and outpatient environments. Often it can be a combination of both, starting with inpatient care and then transitioning to outpatient care as the client progresses.
While there are many clinical options, many of them primarily fall under two categories. These categories are psychotherapeutic and pharmacological. As with the other treatment options, many times psychotherapy and medications are used in tandem. Therapy tends to focus on the mind and its patterns. It may also include exposure to potentially triggering situations and ways to change behaviors related to those situations.
The medications that are predominantly used in OCD treatment focus on the anxiety and depression aspects of the disorder. These medications can include selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and a variety of antidepressants.
Everyone experiences mental health differently and has different clinical needs, even when two people have the same diagnosis. Professionals have their clients’ best interests in mind, and their suggestions come from evidence-based information tailored to each person’s unique situation. When it comes to OCD, everyone has choices. They can either continue to struggle with it or get help and get their life back.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) can affect every aspect of an individual’s life. Yet, many people don’t understand how serious and common OCD actually is. OCD has become excessively misused and misinterpreted in the public sphere in recent years. Many people describe their relatively “normal” behaviors as “obsessive-compulsive” because they don’t understand all that this condition entails and the fact that it is a clinically recognized disorder. The good news is that OCD is treatable. If you feel that you or a loved one may be struggling with OCD, don’t wait to get help. We can help you or your family member get diagnosed and manage the effects of OCD. For more information, contact Alter Behavioral Health at (866) 691-4386.