At the Mindview Behavioral Health of Bethesda, MD (DMV area) we offer cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) and other evidence-based therapies for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) as well as alternative and conventional therapy for OCD.
What is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)?
Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is characterized by unwanted, repetitive, irrational thoughts (obsessions) resulting in physical or mental acts (compulsions) that you feel driven to perform. In order to reduce anxiety, you may engage in physical or mental compulsions. The goal of the compulsive behavior, or ritual, is to reduce anxiety by preventing the feared event or by reducing a sense of tension. Compulsions may seem irrational to the outside world but, when you perform these acts, your anxiety does go down in the short run. However, while your anxiety might be reduced temporarily, the obsessions soon return and you get stuck in a vicious cycle of performing time-consuming physical or mental rituals to reduce anxiety.
OCD tends to cause fear and uncertainty about the people and things we care about most. We work with many types of obsessive-compulsive disorders including:
Contamination OCD – fears of germs or getting sick and dying from exposure to something dirty or unsafe resulting in excessive washing, showering and/or cleaning.
Harming Others OCD – fear of hurting another person especially a loved one or people who are important to you.
Health Obsessions/Hypochondriasis – excessive, irrational worry about getting a disease such as HIV, cancer or a sexually transmitted disease.
Hit and Run OCD – obsessive worry that you hit someone with your car and the need to go back and check to relieve anxiety.
Just Right/Symmetry OCD – Needing things to be in just the right position or the same on both sides in order to alleviate tension or a sense of incompleteness.
Obsessive Compulsive Spectrum Disorders including trichotillomania/hair pulling, skin picking, body dysmorphic disorder, hypochondriasis/health anxiety and others.
Postpartum OCD – intrusive, irrational thoughts of hurting your baby and checking behaviors and reassurance seeking that you would not or have not done anything harmful.
Pure Obsessions/Mental Rituals OCD – intrusive or obsessive thoughts with mental rituals like counting or praying in order to neutralize the fears and reduce anxiety.
Relationship OCD – obsessive, irrational thoughts about relationship issues such as your partner’s faithfulness, obsessive jealousy or doubt about your love for your partner.
Safety Checking OCD – the need to repeatedly check your stoves, heaters, appliances, doors, and other items to be sure you are safe.
Scrupulosity/Moral OCD – fear of doing or thinking something that might be counter to your ethical or moral values.
Scrupulosity/Religious OCD – fear of doing or thinking something that might be immoral or offensive to God or your religion and excessive worry about going to hell.
Self-Harming OCD – excessive fear and doubt about whether you’ll go crazy and hurt yourself or commit suicide even though the idea of hurting or killing yourself is the last thing you want to do and you have absolutely no intention of acting on this thought.
Sexual Orientation OCD/Gay OCD – excessive doubt about whether you are gay even though you are straight.
Sexually Intrusive Thoughts OCD – thoughts of a sexual nature that you find immoral or repugnant.
Tourettic OCD – repetitive behaviors or rituals that you feel compelled to do to relieve physical tension or to reduce a general sense of anxiety about “something bad happening” without a specific fear.
OCD is a neuropsychiatry disorder. While OCD can’t be cured, there are effective therapies and treatment that can minimize your symptoms to have a positive outlook of life.
How is OCD treated?
Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) is the treatment of choice for obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). CBT for OCD includes exposure and response prevention. This means that you would be exposed to what you fear without engaging in your rituals. For example, if you feel a bump while driving and your OCD tells you to go back and check if you ran someone over, then the therapy involves not checking and learning to tolerate the anxiety of not knowing. The reason is because going back to check might reduce anxiety in the short run but the obsessive thinking will start again and if you continue to check, you get stuck in the OCD cycle. Click here for a more detailed description of Exposure and Response Prevention. In addition to exposure and response prevention, cognitive therapy has also been helpful for OCD.
OCD is a chronic condition that can flare up under stress and during life transitions. While many people can learn tools in a short amount of time to manage their OCD symptoms, most people need intensive and longer-term treatment. Even when the OCD symptoms have been reduced, you may still need to see your therapist and or psychiatric provider periodically for relapse prevention and tune-ups.
How to Get Help for OCD in Bethesda, Rockville, Silver Spring MD
Mindview Behavioral Health of Bethesda, MD (DMV area) we offer cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) and other evidence-based therapies for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) as well as alternative and conventional therapy for OCD. Call 240-608-0553