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Thursday, March 20, 2014

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder: How to know when it’s Time for Treatment

by Dr. Lindsay Kramer, psychotherapist and staff writer at The April Center For Anxiety Attack Management - Los Angeles      

             Do you or someone you know suffer from obsessive compulsive disorder?  OCD can be one of the most distressing and difficult psychological disorders for both the patient and the patient’s support system.  That is why getting help for OCD's intrusive thoughts and compulsive behaviors is so necessary.  So where does one begin?  And how does one know exactly when it is time for treatment?
            According to the article below (see link)*, we all have our own health barometers that alert us when something is out of balance.  Think of these barometers as signals sent from our body and mind to inform us that something is not working properly.  For people suffering from obsessive compulsive disorder, those health barometers can be obsessive thoughts and compulsions.
            We are all aware that obsessive compulsive disorder, or OCD, is an anxiety disorder.  It is characterized by recurrent, unwanted thoughts and overwhelming urges to repeat certain rituals or behaviors in order to control these thoughts.  Now, let’s break this down more simply.  Say you have a recurring thought of germs.  It is with you at all times—when you use a public restroom, when you hear someone sneeze across the room, and even when you are in your own home.  The thought of germs is terrifying—what if you get sick or infected?  Could it lead to your death?  To rid yourself of these thoughts, you begin to engage in behaviors that may prevent you from getting sick.  You wash your hands repeatedly, use hand sanitizer after touching anything, and refuse to be around anyone who appears ill.  Slowly, these behaviors become rituals that rule your day.  And this is all done in order to control that original thought of germs.
            That is the general picture of OCD thought disorder.  If not treated properly, it can overrule and overtake virtually every aspect of a person’s life.  Family, friends, work, and school are negatively affected by the need to control the obsessive thoughts causing a rapid decline in mental, emotional, and physical health. 
            Cognitive behavioral therapy is essential for managing and overcoming OCD thought disorder.  So how do you know when it’s time for therapy?  Ask yourself this question: Is your experience with OCD affecting your life in any way?  Are you unable to relax because of some annoying thought that won’t seem to leave your head?  Are you having difficulty getting through a normal day because you are trying to control those thoughts by doing some behavior?  If the answer to any or all of these questions is yes, then it is definitely time to seek out OCD treatment.  Specially trained OCD doctors at The April Center can help you learn to tolerate the anxiety that comes from the intrusive thoughts, and better control the rituals and behaviors that have interfered with your life.  They will also help you understand the connection between the thoughts, behaviors, and feelings, and how to disrupt the vicious cycle that causes so much distress.  Finally, OCD doctors can help you become better attuned to genuine conflicts within body and mind.  I know starting treatment can appear scary, but it far outweighs the misery and anxiety of living with obsessive compulsive disorder.

All the best,
from The April Center For Anxiety Attack Management - Los Angeles

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