- Unwanted ideas, images, or impulses that seem silly, nasty, or horrible.
- Excessive worry about dirt, germs, or chemicals.
- Constant worry that something bad will happen because you forgot something important, like locking the door or turning off appliances.
- Afraid you will act or speak in a way that is out of control when you don’t want to.
- Always afraid you will lose something of importance.
- Things you feel you must do excessively or thoughts you must think repeatedly to feel comfortable or ease anxiety.
- Keeping many useless things because you feel that you can’t throw them away.
- The need to wash yourself or things around you excessively.
- The need to check things over and over or repeat them many times to be sure they are done properly.
The key features of this disorder include obsessions (persistent, often irrational, and seemingly uncontrollable thoughts) and compulsions (actions which are used to neutralize the obsessions).
Having OCD is a burden. You are saddled with thoughts that at one level you know are not rational, and yet you are compelled to act to neutralize them. The rituals calm the fears for a few moments and then they are at full force again.
To treat OCD, we conduct a full evaluation to make sure that another disorder is not responsible for the symptoms. Then we use Cognitive Therapy to teach you how to identify and challenge the thoughts that are not rational. Next we use Response Prevention to help you stop using the ritualized responses to the obsessions. With this process you will learn how to relax. Then you will be shown a number of ways to tolerate the anxiety caused by not responding or using the compulsive action. Within a relatively short time, the anxiety dramatically reduces and the compulsions and obsessional thinking are significantly reduced.