(Part three of a continuing series by the Cognitive Behavior Therapy Center of Southern California’s OCD experts)
It is a momentous moment when someone who suffers from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) decides to enter treatment. It is usually a difficult decision to make, as so many people either hide their obsessions and compulsions and/or think that they should be able to manage their own symptoms. There is often much shame and fear that others might think them crazy or weak or cowardly if it were known what they are afraid of or what lengths they go to in order to manage those fears.
Folks with OCD manage their fears through avoidance – with both active and passive avoidance.
People who struggle with Contamination OCD primarily fear contracting disease, avoid public restrooms (this is an example of passive avoidance), and when there is inevitable “break through” contamination (e.g., when you just have to shake someone’s hand) you wash carefully or utilize hand sanitizer to “get rid of” the contamination (this is active avoidance). People with thoughts of harm OCD, for example, the wife who is frightened by her recurring thought of stabbing her husband in an otherwise happy relationship might ask the husband to hide the knives. The person with OCD tries to arrange his or her life so that the bad thing, either the calamitous outcome or the feelings of anxiety, will be prevented or eliminated. But how well does that work? Usually, the anxiety continues to mount and the avoidance behavior gets more and more elaborate and burdensome. This causes the person’s life to shrink down and become more restricted. And suffering from OCD is tremendously tiring. Trying to do all of the activities of daily life, of going to work, maintaining relationships, and doing the myriad tasks and responsibilities of life AND then adding the frequent hours of fear and compulsions, it often gets too much.
Consider Seeking Treatment For OCD When:
- Your OCD is getting worse
- Your OCD is staying the same and you’re tired of it
- You notice that your loved ones are suffering from YOUR OCD too
- You’re exhausted from doing it all – living your life AND battling OCD
- You’re tired of the restrictions that OCD puts on your life
When should you seek treatment for OCD? Come in when you feel that it isn’t working to continue to try to manage your OCD on your own.
However, it is important to see a practitioner who has experience working with OCD and who has a mastery of the specialized techniques required to effectively treat Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
All of our therapists at the Cognitive Behavior Therapy Center of SoCal are experts in the evaluation and treatment of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Contact us if you have any questions or to schedule an initial evaluation and learn how we can help you with your OCD.
Author Dr. Rodney Boone is the Founder and Director of CBT SoCal, has taught as a former member of the faculty in UCLA’s Department of Psychiatry, and practices in Glendale and Torrance, CA.