What is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, or OCD, is defined by the existence of obsessions and/or compulsions. An obsession is a persistent, upsetting, intrusive thought or impulse which one tries to suppress or neutralize through a different action or thought. A compulsion is a repetitive action, such as counting, hand-washing, checking, cleaning, or saying a specific word over and over again which one feels driven to perform. Compulsions are often in response to an obsession, or to an anxiety which requires the action to be done according to strict rules. It can occur in adults or children, and is generally only diagnosed if the obsessions or compulsions are time consuming or interfere with functioning.
Treatment for OCD is two-fold. Anxiety management skills are the first part of treatment, including skills for relaxing and for reducing anxious thoughts. The second part of treatment involves exposure-with-response-prevention, an approach which has been shown to be the gold standard in OCD treatment. Exposure therapy is based on the idea that fear gradually reduces with time spent in the feared situation. For example, if you are afraid of dogs and you buy a puppy, your fear will gradually reduce over time as you get used to the puppy. This process is called habituation. Similarly, if you are afraid of leaving the door unlocked and must therefore check the lock 10 times before leaving the house, allowing yourself to experience the fear that the door is unlocked without going to check on it will gradually cause your fear to disappear. Thus, exposure therapy revolves around identifying the feared obsession and slowly, with the help of the therapist, habituating to that fear without engaging in a compulsive response.
Insight is Good. Change is Better.
155 West 72nd street
New York, NY 10023
Phone: (917) 972-5671