Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is characterized by persistent, recurring, disturbing thoughts (Obsessions) that reflect exaggerated anxiety or fears.
Typical obsessions include:
- Worry about being contaminated with germs or radioactive material or dangerous chemicals.
- Fears about possibly behaving improperly, blurting out a racist or sexist or inappropriate sexual word or phrase in front of others, inadvertently.
- Having violent thoughts and wondering, “Am I the type of person who could act these out? ”Do I WANT to act out these violent thoughts?”
- Fears of acting or thinking immorally, e.g., having blasphemous thoughts about God or religious figures or not doing religious rituals “correctly.”
- Worries about one’s sexual orientation, e.g., in a frankly heterosexual person, the thought, “Could I be gay?”
- Repetitive sensation of some act feeling “not quite right,” e.g., of trying repeatedly to arrange one’s shoes until the arrangement feels “right.”
The obsessions may lead an individual to perform rituals or routines (Compulsions) in an attempt to either keep the feared thing from happening or to diminish the extreme anxiety that is generated by the obsessions.
Typical compulsions may include:
- Hand and body washing done repeatedly over long periods of time.
- Checking locks of one’s home or car over and over, trying to remove the persistent doubt that the door is locked
- Neutralizing or undoing scary thoughts, by praying the bad thought away or replacing the bad thought with a good thought.
- Seeking constant reassurance from others that they are not “bad” people or wouldn’t actually harm others, or aren’t actually gay, etc. etc.
- Repeatedly driving one’s car back to a certain place where one had the thought, “Did I just commit a hit and run?” in order to check for signs of an accident or injury.
For more information about the various types of OCD, as well as how treatment for OCD works, please view our articles, podcasts, and news about OCD. Included are:
– An article on the Relationship OCD/Anxiety subtype
– An article on the Moral/Religious Scrupulosity subtype of OCD
– Information about how remote telehealth treatment for OCD can be beneficial
CBT SoCal’s staff have helped hundreds of people over the years to confront OCD and limit its devastating emotional, professional, and financial impact. Dr. Boone has been treating OCD since 1980 and the therapists at CBT SoCal are known for their experience and competence in treating this disorder. If you or your loved one suffers from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, contact us to schedule a free 10-minute phone evaluation and to answer any questions you might have.