What is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder?

You may have heard someone saying things like, “my OCD is kicking in”, or “I’m so OCD”, but does that person really have OCD?

Being particular about where you like things placed in your house or being picky about your appearance or food etc. are preferences, generally not OCD. Significant disruption to your life is key to the characterization of OCD. It involves a cycle of obsessions and compulsions that cause intense anxiety and distress. The obsessions are thoughts or images that occur and the person feels these are out of their control to do anything about, the compulsion then kicks in to help the person make the obsessions “go away” or counteract them.

There are common obsessions, such as harm, perfectionism, religious, losing control and others.

Some common compulsions include washing/cleaning, checking, mentally going over things, repeating patterns. There can be many other themes as well. Some people may experience more mental compulsions and not outwardly engage in behavioral compulsions.

A common question people want to know is what causes OCD? The short answer…many factors! It can be inherited, or can involve disruptions in brain communication, or a number of other factors.  Adults and children can develop OCD but it is NOT caused by something the person did or didn’t do.

Many people can find help through medication and therapy.

Therapy for OCD involves many behavioral and cognitive techniques, such as Exposure Response Prevention, and can improve the lives of people who have OCD.

(Source: International OCD Foundation)

About the Author

Jill Patano, LCPC is a therapist at our Edison Park location. Jill works with adults. Jill’s specialties include anxiety, OCD, panic and phobias, stress management, perfectionism, CBT, ERP, coping skills, and life transitions. If you are interested in working with Jill, send an email today!