Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

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At San Diego Christian Counseling, we offer counseling for individuals struggling with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). If you’re wondering if you or someone you know has this condition and what to do about, read on.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) consists of disturbing or unwanted thoughts, ideas, images, or desires, which intrude into the mind, creating discomfort and anxiety. In an attempt to quiet these intrusions, those struggling with OCD will practice compulsions (repetitive acts or behaviors) to reduce the pressure they feel. These compulsions become recurring patterns in life, taking up significant time. Although the compulsions appear to bring relief, they only “scratch an itch.” The source of the tension remains unresolved.

Even though OCD may not seem like a very serious condition, it has a serious impact on a person’s life. Many dealing with it refuse to share their experience with anyone and, as a result, find themselves isolated. At San Diego Christian Counseling, you can find a safe place to be honest and process your experience as you move toward recovery from the symptoms of OCD.

Get Connected With a Christian Counselor
Contact Trish at reception
424-361-6198

People dealing with OCD characterize their symptoms as inescapable thoughts (obsessions) and the desire to practice specific behavior to relieve the relentless thoughts (compulsions). OCD symptoms are made up of both obsessions and compulsions.

Obsessions

Obsessions are persistent and intrusive thoughts, ideas, or impulses. These unwanted mental experiences create anxiety and fear, often interrupting daily life.

Some common obsessions are:

  • A need to complete things perfectly.
  • Deep concern about germs, dirtiness, or sickness.
  • Worry about other people’s thoughts and motivations.
  • Fear of harming yourself or others.
  • Relentlessly stewing over things like relational conflict.

Compulsions

Compulsions are behaviors used to alleviate the pressure created by obsessive thoughts. Typically, these behaviors are ritualistic and can last for long periods. Other types of compulsive behavior can be more complex and change regularly.

Some common compulsions are:

  • Repetitive washing or checking of something that was already done correctly.
  • Some sort of rhythmic counting, often associated with a related action.
  • Constant organizing and moving things to maintain perfect order.
  • Hoarding.

While the above are general characteristics of OCD, more specific OCD related disorders exist. These tend to have an additional fixation beyond more general OCD tendencies:

  • Body Dysmorphic Disorder: This disorder is marked by an extreme preoccupation with body image, noticing flaws even when they aren’t there. It will lead to compulsive acts and thoughts such as repeatedly looking into mirrors and mentally comparing their bodies against other people.
  • Excoriation (Skin-Picking) Disorder: This disorder is characterized by the need to pick at the skin to the point of causing physical harm.
  • Trichotillomania (Hair-Pulling) Disorder: This disorder is connected to the desire to pull out hair. The behavior results in hair loss and can extend beyond the pulling of the person’s hair to carpets, toys, animals, and other external objects.

If you think you might have OCD, you can begin by self-assessing through an online test. But, remember that self-diagnosis is limited at best. If you are at all concerned about your condition, then it is best to seek a professional diagnosis.

The symptoms of OCD are often misunderstood. What might be a simple quirk or the symptom of another disorder can easily appear as OCD, making it difficult to diagnose. The best way to get a definitive answer is to go somewhere like San Diego Christian Counseling, where you can meet with a trained mental health professional.

OCD often appears in children in similar ways to adults with a few key differences. Children are less stable than adults, so their obsessions and compulsions can be more extreme. It is common for children to have more obsessions around harm (i.e. the loss of a loved one, sickness, or death), while it’s more common for adolescents to have more sexual or religious obsessions.

The treatment for children and teens is similar to adults, with some modifications. Depending on your child’s age and circumstance, a counselor might use Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), while including an additional technique that is especially effective for children called “cognitive restructuring.” This method uses storytelling to help your child process their obsessive thoughts.

If you are concerned about your children’s behavior and afraid it is negatively affecting them, then you should seek professional help. The trained counselors at San Diego Christian Counseling provide treatment options specifically for children and teens facing OCD.

OCD and anxiety are interrelated. When someone experiences an obsession, they feel the need to act out a compulsion to reduce the anxiety created by the obsessive thoughts. To an outsider, it might appear as if acting out the compulsion is pleasurable, but in reality, it is just the person staving off their anxiety.

The real problem is that the compulsions do not address the deeper issues (i.e. obsessions and anxiety). So even though they appear to cause relief, they really just push the anxiety away for a moment. It will return creating an unhealthy, circular pattern of obsessions, anxiety, and compulsions.

Christian counseling can meet you in the midst of the chaos. If you feel overwhelmed by OCD symptoms, a Christian counselor can help you process both the faith and mental health aspects of your journey. Your counselor can provide a wide variety of treatment methods, depending on your circumstances, but will most likely use a common form of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy called exposure and response prevention, a method known to be effective in treating OCD.

OCD Treatment may include:

  • Identifying your obsessions and rituals (compulsions) and the things you avoid.
  • Determining how much anxiety is caused by each obsession.
  • Exposure to the obsession while denying the compulsive act, beginning with least intense obsession.
  • Gradually progressing to interact with more intense obsessions, which are connected to greater levels of anxiety.
  • Overcoming false beliefs that trigger OCD behavior.

Christian counselors are ready to help you achieve results through professional counseling and faith in Christ. If you’re ready to take back your freedom from the control of OCD, then reach out to a Christian counselor today!

Get Connected With a Christian Counselor
Contact Trish at reception
424-361-6198