Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a potentially disabling condition characterized by 2 main symptoms – obsessions and compulsions:
- Obsessions are internal experiences or external situations that trigger anxiety, disgust, or “not right” feelings. Internal obsessions, sometimes called “intrusions,” usually involve unwanted thoughts, images, or impulses about sex, violence, or blasphemy. Common external obsessions include objects perceived as contaminated, situations involving perceived responsibility for harm occurring to others, and things that are asymmetrical or imperfect. The feature common to all obsessions is that they trigger distressing feeling the individual wants to avoid.
- Compulsions are the behavioral or mental actions an individual with OCD take to avoid the distress triggered by an obsession. For example, a person triggered by a contamination obsession is likely to engage in washing compulsions to try to neutralize the feeling of being contaminated. Other examples of behavioral compulsions include checking, straightening, organizing things in a certain pattern or order, seeking reassurance, and other repetitive behaviors. Mental compulsions, sometimes called “cognitive rituals,” are actions individuals perform in their mind to neutralize an obsession. Examples of mental compulsions include counting, compulsive prayer, trying to reassure one-self by figuring something out, and mentally repeating certain words, numbers, phrases, or images.
For more information on obsessive compulsive disorders, please visit the National Institute of Mental Health.
St. Louis Behavioral Medicine Institute offers a variety of treatment services for those suffering from OCD. For more information on OCD services offered at St. Louis Behavioral Medicine Institute, or to schedule an appointment, please contact us at (314) 289-9411 for our St. Louis City location and (636) 532-9188 for our Chesterfield location, you can also choose to complete our online inquiry form. We look forward to speaking with you.