Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is a brain disorder, characterized by uncontrollable and recurring thoughts and behaviors. An individual with OCD experience intrusive images, thoughts or impulses, leading to anxiety and a great degree of emotional distress.

Obsessions are images, thoughts or impulses that occur repeatedly and are beyond an individual’s control. On the other hand, compulsions are repetitive behaviors or thoughts used by individuals to neutralize their obsessions or to get rid of them. Most people experience intrusive thoughts in their day-to-day functioning. However, when these thoughts start occurring frequently and trigger extreme anxiety, they often disrupt the normal functioning of an individual.

People with mild to moderate OCD tend to live comfortably, but when left untreated, OCD symptoms are likely to worsen and limit one’s capacity to study, work or socialize. In extreme cases, individuals with OCD may even become housebound, debilitated and completely suicidal. A timely and correct diagnosis followed by a comprehensive obsessive compulsive disorder treatment at OCD treatment centers for women, Arizona, may include treatment with medication and psychotherapy, followed by experiential therapies.

Symptoms of OCD

Individuals suffering from OCD may have symptoms relating to either compulsions, obsessions or both. While obsessions can be defined as recurrent and unwanted urges, thoughts, or impulses that are experienced persistently and are a cause of anxiety and distress, compulsions can be defined as a repetitive behavior or mental acts that an individual feels driven to perform due to those obsessions.

Typical obsessive thoughts may include the following:

  • Fear of dirt or contamination
  • Aggressive or horrific thoughts about harming oneself or others
  • Need for order and symmetry in things
  • Forbidden thoughts involving sex, religion and harm

Done in response to an obsessive thought, compulsions are aimed at preventing or reducing distress. Although these mental acts or behaviors are aimed at reducing anxiety and distress, they are often irrational and unrealistic, and they hardly help in neutralizing or preventing one’s obsessions.

Typical compulsive behaviors may include the following:

  • Excessive cleaning to reduce fear of contamination
  • Repeatedly checking on things to dispel anxiety
  • Ordering and arranging things to reduce discomfort
  • Engaging in rituals triggered by religious fear to prevent dreadful future event

Gender is known to be a relevant factor while evaluating patients of OCD. Men with OCD may show more aggressive and sexual-religious symptoms along with various substance use disorders. On the other hand, women are shown to display more cleaning symptoms, and eating and impulse-control disorders.

OCD: Causes and risk factors

OCD is a common mental health disorder affecting children, adolescents and adults. However, researchers are yet to pinpoint the exact causes of the problem. Some of the risk factors for OCD include genetics, environment, brain structure and functioning.

  • Genetics: Though the disease appears to run in families, genes appear to play only partial role in causing the disorder. However, those with first-degree relatives suffering from OCD have a higher risk of developing the disease.
  • Environment: Certain environmental factors like stressful life events may lead to emotional distress and can increase one’s chance of getting intrusive thoughts. Some of these factors may include traumatic brain injury, severe illness, abuse, relationship issues, childhood trauma or death of a loved one.
  • Brain structure and functioning: As per research, abnormal functioning of circuitry within certain parts of the brain may cause the disorder. Additionally, imbalances in brain chemicals and problems in the pathways of the brain linking areas dealing with planning and judgment with areas filtering messages involving body movements may also contribute to OCD.

Similar to other mental health disorders, living with OCD can affect the quality of an individual’s life. Obsessions can deplete both time and energy levels for other activities and also subject one to social stigma.

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Getting help for OCD

A comprehensive treatment for obsessive compulsive disorder typically involves medication, psychotherapy or a combination of the two. Although most patients respond to treatment, some continue to experience its symptoms. The sooner one starts seeking treatment, the better it is for managing the symptoms.

Medications including Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SRIs) and Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) are used to reduce OCD symptoms. Medication may be prescribed if one experiences severe anxiety or suffers from a co-morbid condition along with OCD. In addition to FDA-approved medications, behavioral therapies for OCD are aimed at exposing patients to feared situations and thoughts in order to prevent compulsive disorders (both mental and physical). Known to be an effective treatment for OCD, psychotherapies, including cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), and other therapies like exposure and response prevention (ERP) or exposure therapy are effective in reducing OCD symptoms.

OCD symptoms can be recurring and can virtually ease over time, but those with OCD may try to help themselves by avoiding trigger situations and may use alcohol or drugs to calm their minds. Therefore, treatment for OCD should address not only OCD symptoms but also the presence of any comorbid disorders, such as substance use disorder.

OCD treatment at Sovereign Health of Arizona

It is estimated that one in five American adults experience some form of mental health disorder in a given year, with gender playing a crucial role in determining one’s susceptibility to mental illnesses. Mental health disorders affect men and women differently. While some are more common in women, some of them are unique to women only.

A leading woman-only behavioral and addiction rehab in Arizona, Sovereign Health of Arizona provides its patients a residential rehab in a safe, supportive and trigger-free environment. A dually licensed mental health and addiction treatment facility, Sovereign Health of Arizona offers a variety of treatment options, including individual and group therapies, cognitive remediation technique, exposure therapy, neurofeedback, eTherapy and experiential therapy. Depending on the severity of one’s primary symptoms and support system, our Chandler facility in Arizona offers residential, partial hospitalization and intensive outpatient programs to all our women patients.

OCD treatment for women at Chandler, Arizona, involves individualized, holistic treatment, tailored to the patients’ specific needs. Treatment at our state-of-the-art facilities includes residential rehab facility with intense psychotherapies like individual and group psychotherapy, CBT, experiential therapies, including, yoga, meditation, and art therapy, and medication along with both outpatient and inpatient services.

Sovereign Health of Arizona in Chandler offers specialized treatment for various mental health problems, co-occurring disorders and addictions. After the treatment, it also helps in patients’ wellness and recovery for a healthier life. For more information on our evidence-based mental health treatment programs, call us at our live admission specialist at our 24/7 helpline number 866-598-5661 or chat online with our trained representatives for any further assistance.

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