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Obsessive-compulsive Disorder

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a type of mental health condition that causes repeated unwanted thoughts. To get rid of the thoughts (obsessions), a person with OCD does the same tasks over and over (compulsions). For example, you may fear that everything you touch has germs on it, so you wash your hands over and over again. 
What are the symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder?

Obsessions – These are unwanted thoughts, ideas and impulses that you have again and again. They won’t go away. Examples include:

  • A driving need to do things perfectly or correctly.
  • A fear of getting dirty or infected.

Compulsions – These are behaviors that you repeat to try to control the obsessions. Examples include:

  • Washing, or checking that something has been done.
  • Counting, often while doing another compulsive action, such as hand-washing.

The obsessions or compulsions usually take up a lot of time – more than 1 hour a day.

How is obsessive-compulsive disorder diagnosed?

Your provider can check for OCD by asking about your symptoms and your past health. A physical exam may also be done and you may get a mental health assessment. The mental health assessment is a check of your emotions and how well you can think, reason and remember. You may be given written or verbal tests. The provider may also look at your appearance, your mood, your behavior and how you express yourself.

How is obsessive-compulsive disorder treated?

Treatment for OCD includes counseling and medication. Using both works best in most patients.

Counseling includes a type of cognitive behavioral therapy called exposure and response prevention (ERP). ERP slowly increases your contact with the thing that causes worries of anxiety. With the help of a counselor, ERP can reduce your symptoms over time.

Antidepressant medicines called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIS) are most often used. Antidepressants work differently for everyone. Your provider will help find the medicine and dose that works best for you.

Treatment can make your symptoms less severe. But you may still have some mild symptoms after you start treatment.

Get help now

If you are unable to manage your obsessive-compulsive disorder symptoms on your own, consider seeking professional help.

Call the Behavioral Health HelpLine at 260-471-9440 or 800-284-8439 anytime 24 hours a day. Our assessment specialists are available to guide you to the appropriate level of care or resources to support you.