What is OCD?
OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) is a debilitating disorder that affects approximately 1-2% of the adult population and up to 5% of children and adolescents. It’s a disorder that is not very well understood and is often stereotypically characterized by phrases such as “neat freak” or “control freak”.
OCD typically involves anxiety-based intrusive thoughts, urges or impulses (obsessions) that an individual tries to suppress with some form of compulsive action (compulsion).
Components of OCD
Obsessions are unwanted and anxiety inducing thoughts, images or urges that repeatedly emerge in your mind. You might feel as though these are irrational and not in line with your values.
Compulsions are behaviors or mental acts that you feel driven to engage in even though you may realize that they are pointless or excessive. Resisting engaging in these behaviors might cause you a lot of anxiety. Compulsions are also known as rituals. Oftentimes, school/work functioning is impacted because many hours are spent engaging in compulsive behaviors related to those relentless intrusive thoughts (obsessions).
You might try to avoid triggers as a way to manage your obsessions and compulsions. For example, you might avoid public bathrooms to manage your germ fears and reduce needing to excessively wash your hands.
Types of OCD
Categories of OCD
OCD thoughts and behaviors fall into a number of different categories. Some examples include: aggression, contamination, sexual, hoarding, religious, symmetry, and illness.
Contamination OCD, Checking OCD, “Pure O” OCD, Pedophilia (POCD), Homosexual (HOCD), Driving OCD, Relationship OCD, Harm OCD, Religious OCD, Existential OCD, Confessing OCD, Perfectionism OCD and Tourettic OCD.
Do you have OCD?
The Y-BOCS is the gold standard assessment tool for OCD. If you resonate with anything below from the Y-BOCS assessment, it might be time to talk with one of our OCD therapists. This is not an exhaustive list but rather some common examples of obsessions and compulsions .
- Excessive concern with germs.
- Excessive concern with contaminants or chemicals.
- Concern will harm others by spreading germs or contaminants.
- Bothered by bodily waste or fluids.
- Bothered by sticky substances or residues.
- Excessive concern with becoming pregnant or of making someone pregnant.
- Fear of eating certain foods
- Fear might harm self or others because not careful enough.
- Fear of being responsible for terrible events.
- Concerned with having an illness or disease.
- Fear of blurting out obscenities or insults.
- Fear of doing something else embarrassing or inappropriate.
- Violent, horrific or repulsive images.
- Excessive concern with right/wrong or scrupulosity.
- Concern with sacrilege or blasphemy.
- Excessive fears of Satan or demonic possession.
- Forbidden or improper sexual thoughts or images.
- Intrusive Meaningless Sounds, Words, or Music.
- Magical or Superstitious Fears.
- Excessive or ritualized hygiene.
- Counting compulsions.
- Checking locks, stove, appliances, emergency brake, faucets, etc.
- Excessive religious rituals.
- Order or rearranging.
- Asking for reassurance.
- Need to touch, tap, or rub.
- Mental rituals (Such as rumination, thought neutralizing, self-reassurance, mental chanting and compulsive prayer).
Therapy for OCD in Chicago
Our OCD therapists are trained in the gold standard treatment for OCD – Exposure & Response Prevention (ERP).
Therapy sessions usually involve creating a hierarchy of feared situations based on an individuals’ OCD thoughts, practicing exposure to the feared triggers and consequences, and learning techniques to refrain from engaging in compulsive behaviors. Over time, with both therapy and medication, frequency and intensity of thoughts usually decrease and individuals no longer feel the need to engage in time-consuming compulsive behaviors.