Scottsdale Psychiatrist - Treatment for OCD obsessive compulsive disorder

OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) - Do you have any issue with saving or hording “junk”? Do you often check the doors at home to make sure they are locked at night more than once? How about the same with checking to make sure the appliances are off, the stove isn’t on, and the toilet has stopped running. Counting, do you find yourself having to count a certain number of times before you stop? This list is far from exhaustive, suffice it to say that any thought pattern or behavior that is enslaving you could be a symptom of OCD.

Do you ever leave the house and have to come back home because you want to make sure the garage door is down or check to see of the doors are locked. If so, you “might” have OCD. This condition is characterized by obsessive thoughts of harm to you, your family, or your assets that take control of your life and compulsive behaviors as described above.

You and your family, by default, become slaves to these thoughts and as nerve-racking as they are; you cannot seem to break free from the thoughts or the behaviors that the thoughts cause.

OCD is a form of anxiety, the obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors are the symptoms. Because we see this disorder running in families the causes are believed to be either genetic or learned behavior. Regardless, the brain chemistry needs to be dealt with in order to treat the condition. Genetics can most certainly be the cause of OCD but understand that children’s minds are like “sponges” and more impressionable than most of us can imagine. Our brains are not yet fully developed as young children and being exposed to a parent who exhibits the obsessive compulsive behavior can possibly be assimilated into the thought processes of the child’s brain. Later in life when this individual comes under stress, he or she might find comfort in resorting to compulsive behaviors in order to mollify themselves and regain a feeling of control in their lives. It also could be genetics and a issue with one’s brain chemistry.

Most people will exhibit some sort of compulsive behavior at some time in their lives whether it be a collecting, counting, cleaning or some other behavior. When the thoughts and behaviors begin to interfere with your life or occupy more than an hour of your day, it is time to seek help.

Minor cases can often be overcome by behavior modification. Other new studies are showing that DBS (deep brain stimulation) is showing some hope for severe cases. If you have driven yourself crazy by repeatedly driving back home to check the doors, appliances…some people deal with this by telling themselves “You have homeowners insurance and keep driving! Who cares if the house burns down, you’re insured!” You will notice that within minutes of that decision the obsessive thought will have left your mind. I wouldn’t personally recommend this because you might have a valid concern…

Some of the best medical treatments for OCD are the SSRIs, often after 6 to 8 weeks the obsessive thoughts and ensuing compulsive behaviors, should be significantly subsiding. Unfortunately too often the case; the individual is not seeing results fast enough – so he or she stops taking the medication or implores the doctor to change medications. Remember that if these thoughts and behaviors have been a part of your life for several years; it might take some time to “break the habit” so to speak in addition to the time it takes for the medication to show its full effect. In treating OCD, we need to typically use higher doses of the SSRIs to get the desired effect over longer periods of time than the usual four to six weeks to treat depression. Give the medication time; but realize with time you will notice that your thoughts and behaviors start to change for the positive. Usually the thoughts will subside and other times you will have to confront them and make peace with them and learn to identify what is a justifiable fear or thought and what is an obsessive thought that your mind has manufactured.

Needless to say, every individual is different and therefore different medications and behavior modifications will work differently; some cases on occasion will seem to be treatment resistant. Please don’t give up hope. This condition can be overcome! I typically have good results in my practice. I love treating this. Symptoms of OCD


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This article is for informational purposes only and not to be used in diagnosing or treating any potential illness