Research from the International OCD Foundation shows that approximately 1 in every 100 adults throughout the U.S. has an obsessive-compulsive disorder or OCD. For OCD Awareness Week, the Harmony Health Group team wants to go over what this disorder means, how it affects people’s lives and what can be done if you have OCD.

Defining OCD or Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder 

There are many people who think that obsessive-compulsive disorder just has to do with fearing germs or doing something a set number of times. While these symptoms can be a part of the disorder, it is much more than that. 

You see, everyone is going to have intrusive thoughts at times. For example, you might think to yourself, “What would happen if that semi on the highway smashed my car?” You might think about that same thing multiple times while you are on the highway, but that doesn’t mean you have obsessive-compulsive disorder. OCD is when these intrusive thoughts get stuck so-to-say. Basically, you are obsessed with a thought or action and have the compulsion to act on it, such as with turning a doorknob 3 times.

Obsessions vs. Compulsions 

During OCD Awareness Week, we want to make sure that everyone gets a feel for the differences between obsessions and compulsions. 

Obsessions can deal with just about anything. However, most things people become obsessed about are related to the meaning of life – our identity, health, family, religion, values, etc.

Compulsions are actions we take to relieve some of the anxiety brought about by our obsessions. Some examples of compulsions would be:

  • Cleaning
  • Redoing certain tasks a set number of times
  • Tapping 
  • Avoidance 
  • Thought neutralization
  • Rumination

Not all compulsions are going to be noticeable to others. However, in some circumstances, the obsessions and compulsions will be easily recognized by family members and friends. 

OCD Themes to Learn About Today

When someone has OCD, their obsessions my revolve around one or more of these themes:

  • Health
  • Contamination
  • Moral scrupulosity/religion
  • Sex
  • Perfectionism
  • Harm
  • Relationships
  • Bodily functions 
  • Suicide 
  • Existentialism

There are some other obsessive-compulsive disorder themes that might show up, as well. However, these are the most common.

Do you have debilitating obsessive and/or compulsive thoughts throughout any of these themes? For example, you might repeat tasks at work 5 times because you are a perfectionist. You might wash each dish at home 3 times because it doesn’t seem clean until you do that. If you are dealing with any obsessive-compulsive thoughts or actions, please reach out to our Harmony Health Group for treatment today. 

Dangers of Misrepresenting OCD

Unfortunately, it takes people an average of 14 to 17 years before they are diagnosed with OCD or obsessive-compulsive disorder. For this specific reason, people are more likely to commit suicide, abuse alcohol or drugs and harm themselves in other ways while trying to deal with their obsessions and compulsions. 

It is extremely important that people who are struggling with OCD don’t feel alone. Our Harmony Health Group team wants you to know that our treatments can bring hope and happiness to your life. We can teach you how to better handle your obsessions and compulsions and live in a reality where you don’t have to focus so much on them, as well. 

We also want to make sure that everyone knows OCD does not define you. Just because you have obsessive, compulsive thoughts, that doesn’t mean you are a bad person or that you are doing anything wrong. It is a mental health condition just like anxiety. We know that you might feel in a disarray right now, but our hope, is that we can help you to get the diagnosis and treatments needed, so you can finally be yourself again. 

Treating OCD

As noted above, OCD is a chronic, but manageable disorder. It is similar to all other mental health conditions in that professional treatment can help to make the person’s life so much better. 

One of the standard OCD treatments is called Exposure and Response Prevention therapy. This is a treatment in which you are exposed to certain triggers (whether imagined or real). While doing that, you are taught how to not act on your compulsions. It is crucial to remember that this is a process and it won’t happen overnight. However, the more you work with your therapist on blocking out your compulsions and not acting on them, the more functional you can become in your own life. 

In certain cases, the patient may need medication to help manage their obsessive-compulsive disorder, too. There are medications that can help to reduce OCD symptoms. If you want to know more about these medications or other treatments for this disorder, don’t hesitate to call our Harmony Health Group team today. 

Making a Difference for Those Who Have OCD

Do you know someone who has obsessive-compulsive thoughts? Even if they don’t have a diagnosis of OCD yet, there are ways that you can make a difference in their life. Some of the best things that you can do include:

  • Educating yourself about obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Becoming familiar with your loved one’s or friend’s obsessions, so you can help
  • Never shame the person who has OCD
  • Get support for yourself when dealing with someone who has this disorder
  • Have empathy and compassion for your loved one or friend with OCD

These are just some of the best ways that you can start making a difference for those who have OCD. If your friend or loved one wants to get help for themselves, please have them reach out to us, here at Harmony Health Group today. 

Get Help During OCD Awareness Week 

Now that you have a better framework of what OCD is and how it can be treated, we highly recommend that you, your loved one or your friend contact us today, here at Harmony Health Group, to get into an outpatient, partial hospitalization or inpatient treatment program.