Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a long-term condition that causes uncontrollable thoughts or behaviors that affect daily life. Estimates show that up to 3% of people in the United States have OCD. Getting the right care can improve your quality of life. The team at Northern Virginia Psychiatric Group in Fairfax, Virginia, diagnoses and treats OCD. To get help, call the office or schedule an appointment online today.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder or OCD is a chronic mental health condition that causes uncontrollable and unwanted thoughts that are anxiety-provoking. People with OCD may engage in behaviors to relieve the distress. That pattern occurs over and over again to the point that it affects their quality of life.
OCD is common and affects people of all ages, including children and teens. Researchers are still investigating what causes someone to develop OCD, but some theorize it may develop from a combination of genetic and environmental factors.
Researchers have also found that people with OCD have abnormalities in certain areas of the brain — the connection between OCD and these abnormalities is still under investigation.
OCD symptoms may include obsessions, compulsions, or both.
OCD obsessions are ongoing thoughts or urges that cause distress. Examples of obsessions include fear of germs, the need to have things in perfect order, and disturbing sexual thoughts.
To relieve the distress from the obsession, people with OCD either engage in repetitive behaviors, try to suppress the thought or urge, or engage in activities that distract them.
Compulsions are the repetitive behaviors people with OCD engage in to release the anxiety caused by their obsessive thoughts. Examples include excessive cleaning or hand washing, constant rearranging of objects, and compulsive counting.
Though it’s normal to have some compulsions, with OCD, the compulsion is so extreme that it takes up hours of your time.
The team at Northern Virginia Psychiatric Group has you undergo a psychiatric evaluation before making any treatment recommendations. During the evaluation, you meet with a psychiatrist who assesses your physical and emotional well-being.
Your psychiatrist determines a diagnosis and recommends treatment, which for OCD might include psychotherapy and medication management.
The team at Northern Virginia Psychiatric Group individualizes your psychotherapy to meet your unique needs. Most people with OCD experience improvements in symptoms with cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and other similar therapies like exposure and response prevention (EX/RP).
EX/RP is a type of CBT in which you spend time in the situation that causes your compulsion, but you’re unable to carry out the behavior.
Medication management at Northern Virginia Psychiatric Group helps you find the right psychiatric medication to manage your symptoms while you engage in psychotherapy. Not everyone with OCD needs medication.
Don’t let OCD run your life; call Northern Virginia Psychiatric Group or schedule an appointment online today.