Are You OCD?

In modern society, people sometimes use “OCD” to describe habits such as preferring your rug to be straight, or the decorations on your mantle to be arranged in a particular way. However, obsessive compulsive disorder is something much more than having certain habits, or wanting photo frames to hang perfectly straight. 

At Livewell TMS, our providers know that having OCD means living with a potentially debilitating mental disorder. We offer treatments designed for your life with the goal of helping you learn to prevent your disorder from taking over your days. We tailor your treatment plan specifically for you, and it may include therapy, medication, TMS, or other approaches. 

Obsessions and compulsions

About one in every 40 American adults has OCD, which means they have intrusive thoughts (obsessions), and feel compelled to take specific actions (compulsions).

The four most common categories of obsessions involve contamination, cleanliness, aggressive impulses, and a need for symmetry. Obsessions can also be thoughts, such as sexual fantasies, or behaviors that are abhorrent. Even though they are only thoughts, and you don’t act on them, they can make it difficult for you to think about anything else, and create a great deal of anxiety. 

Compulsions are driven by obsessions. If you have an obsession with cleanliness, for example, you may feel compelled to clean your kitchen countertops multiple times in a row, or if your obsession lies in the contamination category, you may feel you need to wash your hands seven times each time you come into your house. 

Compulsions take on a ritualistic quality, but they aren’t always visible. Counting steps or bricks or other things can be a compulsion. Compulsions often involve safety, so you may check your locks before bed, or recheck to make sure appliances are turned off multiple times. 

If you have OCD, you likely work hard to avoid things and situations that trigger your anxiety. If you’re concerned about contamination, you probably don’t go to movie theaters or concerts or other places where people gather in close contact. If you fear having a car accident and hurting someone, you may choose not to drive. 

The rituals associated with compulsive behaviors may seem to stem your anxiety, but over the long term, they don’t work. Between the obsessive thoughts, compulsive behaviors, and massive anxiety attacks, OCD can take over your life, limiting your activities and filling your time. 

Controlling OCD with treatment 

There is no cure for OCD, but there are numerous treatments that may help you regain control of your life by easing your symptoms. You may need a combination of treatments, and that treatments that help most may change over time. 

Numerous medications have been successful in helping control the symptoms of OCD. They may take several months to begin working, and finding the right one can take patience. Therapy is often helpful for people with OCD, particularly when combined with other treatment methods. 

Our specialty at Livewell TMS is transcranial magnetic stimulation. TMS may work when other treatments don’t, and it can work well in combination with medication and therapy. TMS uses magnets to stimulate precise regions of your brain. It is non-invasive and painless. 

If you’d like to learn more about OCD or talk to someone about your particular situation, schedule an appointment at Livewell TMS. Our staff is happy to discuss your symptoms and suggest a treatment plan likely to work well for you.

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