It is normal for people to have unwanted thoughts or feelings once in a while, and everyone has specific measures they take to deal with such these intrusive thoughts. However, if you are frequently experiencing repetitive mental intrusions that do not subside until you perform a ritualistic behavior, you may have obsessive-compulsive disorder.
What is OCD? “Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder in which people have unwanted and repeated thoughts, feelings, ideas, sensations (obsessions), or behaviors that make them feel driven to do something (compulsions),” says Psychology Today. There are two categories of obsessive-compulsive disorder, each containing different symptoms of OCD. If you experience intrusive thoughts, images or feelings that occur without the presence of specific triggers, your OCD is autogenous. Conversely, if your OCD symptoms only happen when you are exposed to specific stimuli, the disorder is said to be reactive. This includes: checking, contamination, and symmetry/orderliness. More women than men experience reactive OCD, and the opposite is true for the autogenous variety, notes The Last Psychiatrist.
Symptoms of OCD typically involve the following:
Intrusive thoughts, images and feelings are unwanted and may cause a lot of anxiety. There is no standard for what the thoughts can be about, examples are violence, sex, and religion. These thoughts become obsessive until a counter-action (compulsion) is performed to placate them.
Violent intrusive thoughts may consist of:
- Harming oneself
- Harming loved ones
- Acting on unwanted impulses
- Fear that harm will be done to you or those you love
Intrusive thoughts of a sexual nature may consist of:
- Unwanted thoughts about incest
- Fear of sexual attraction to the same/opposite gender
- Fear of being sexually attracted to children
- Sexually exploitive thoughts about God and religious figures
Scrupulosity – intrusive thoughts of a religious nature – may include:
- Fear of eternal damnation
- Fear that one will act inappropriately in a religious setting
- Fear that prayers have been recited inaccurately
- Sexual thoughts about God
- Unholy thoughts in a religious place
Checking is the repetitive observation of an item or situation, and is one of the compulsive symptoms of OCD. Checking behavior occurs following obsessive thoughts about potential harm being done to either you or those you care about (neutralizing action). This perceived harm, some of which is listed above, could be either physical or social. Some common things that people check repeatedly are:
- Car doors
- Written words (i.e. letters, emails, etc.)
- Social interactions (rehearsing beforehand, etc.)
- Door locks, including on cars
- Water taps
- Fire detectors
- Disease symptoms (researching online)
- Driving route
Contamination, Symmetry, and Orderliness
OCD symptoms related to contamination occur because of an obsession with becoming ill or dying after exposure to germs. The excessive washing of hands is a common behavior; the need for cleanliness is the compulsion for this sort of OCD. If you have contamination-centric symptoms of OCD, you may fear:
- Public washrooms
- Shaking hands
- Germs of the mouth
- Touching banisters and doorknobs
- Being in hospitals
- Being in a large crowd
The fear of what may transpire if details are not absolutely precise is the main characteristic of symmetry and orderliness-related obsessive-compulsive disorder. You may feel an extreme sense of anxiety if things are not organized to your exact specifications. Compulsions to deal with these worries include:
- Aligning items perfectly
- Arranging things in a particular order, or by certain characteristics
- Buying or throwing away items to balance numbers
- Touching items a certain amount of times
- Counting aloud to a certain number
A variety of treatments for OCD symptoms are available. Medication, therapy, and other treatments, such as deep transcranial magnetic stimulation (dTMS). This is a non-invasive and painless procedure used to stimulate centers of the brain thought to play a role in OCD. This OCD treatment in Los Angeles has been helpful in aiding patients in alleviating symptoms of OCD. Thus far, studies have shown that 42% of individuals with OCD who receive dTMS note a marked decrease in symptoms, states Brainsway.
What is OCD? It is a mental disorder that causes an individual to experience unwanted obsessive thinking, followed by compulsive coping mechanisms to eliminate such thoughts. OCD can hinder your ability to lead a functional life if not treated.
Westside Neurotherapeutics offers Deep TMS treatments for OCD in Los Angeles. For more information, contact them by phone at 310.946.0008 or email at email@example.com.