Carolina Counseling Services - OCD: What You Need to Know
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- 1310 Raeford Rd Suite 2 Fayetteville, NC 28305
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OCD: What You Need to Know
When you think of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), the image of someone meticulously organizing things and keeping everything in order may come to mind. OCD, however, is not that simple, as it is one of the least understood conditions.
To shed light on the different aspects of this very real and serious condition, it is important to know the facts about OCD. Knowing this vital information can help you understand OCD better and how it can be treated if you or someone you know suffers from it. Here are some facts you may need to know.
The National Institute for Mental Health (NIMH) defines obsessive-compulsive disorder as an ordinary, but chronic and continuing behavioral health disorder in which a person has the obsession and compulsion to repeatedly do certain things uncontrollably. An individual with OCD has recurring unwanted thoughts, ideas or sensations that drive them to perform an action again and again, causing significant impairment with their daily functioning.
The content of these obsessions can be grouped into different areas, including aggression (causing harm to others on purpose or by accident), contamination (fear of being dirty), and exactness (symmetry and orderliness). A person with OCD attaches much greater meaning and threat to these recurring thoughts than others do.
- Obsession - The first stage of OCD is obsession, a constantly unpleasant and often distressing thought that governs all other thoughts. Whether they are ideas, thoughts, impulses or images, these unwanted and upsetting obsessions cause severe anxiety and extreme discomfort.
- Anxiety – The obsessive thought provokes a feeling of intense anxiety, which can take the form of general fear, generalized anxiety, phobia, and panic. From worrying too much about daily things, anxiety can escalate into an out-of-proportion phobia and full-blown panic attack when a person with OCD is exposed to whatever triggers their fear.
- Compulsion – To reduce the feeling of anxiety, people with OCD are compelled to behave in repeated behaviors or thoughts known as compulsions. Compulsions are rituals perceived as a safety net to reduce the risk of the obsessions from happening, or at least alleviate the anxiety produced by these obsessions. Unfortunately, the compulsions are dearly excessive actions that are not really helpful in preventing the feared consequence. Apart from consuming so much time, compulsions can get in the way of work, school, and other responsibilities.
- Temporary Relief – The compulsive behavior may provide temporary relief from the stress or anxiety. The obsession and anxiety usually return soon after, causing the cycle to repeat all over again.
The exact cause of OCD is not clear, but there are multiple risk factors that may have increased the chances for the development of the disorder.
- Genetics – OCD is believed to be inherited and can be passed down from one generation to the next. People with first-degree relatives who have OCD are more likely to develop OCD as well. The risk is higher if the first-degree relative has had OCD since childhood or adolescence.
- Life-Changing Scenarios – While usual stress does not cause OCD, the tendencies can increase during stressful situations and traumatic life events. The birth of a baby and the death of a family member are examples that can bring change to one’s life, and which are enough to develop the symptoms of OCD.
- Biological Change – Imaging studies show that small changes in the balance of neurotransmitters in the brain, such as serotonin are suspected to trigger OCD. Patients are found to have differences in the frontal cortex and subcortical structures of the brain, indicating the connection between the OCD symptoms and brain abnormalities. Although research is still underway, medication can be prescribed to better manage the condition.
- Environment – People who are already methodically organized may have the symptoms that can only get noticed if they become excessive. In such case, their meticulousness can develop into full anxiety disorder leading to OCD. Other individuals at an increased risk for developing OCD are those who have experienced traumatic events or abuse in childhood.
Because someone has a comfortable routine or tends to be a perfectionist does not automatically categorize him or her as someone with OCD. It is different than having constant intrusive thoughts that dictate their actions.
It is not always easy to tell if someone is suffering from OCD because despite the difficulties attached to the condition, many of the symptoms of OCD only manifest themselves in private. If you suspect yourself or a loved one may have OCD, here are the major symptoms to look for.
- Hoarding – This behavioral trait involves collecting and keeping things with little or no value or use.
- Desiring Order – The proclivity for things to be arranged in a certain way or exhibiting intense stress in seeing chaos where there is not, are possible symptoms of OCD. Compulsively following a strict pattern or routine to maintain a sense of order helps the person achieve the feeling of relief, even if only temporary.
- Frequent Handwashing – The urge to frequently wash hands with soap and water, or excessively use hand sanitizer stems from many fears, such as fear of germs, fear of contaminating others, or the feeling of being impure or immoral. The same urge applies for cleaning other hand-held objects, such as doorknobs, phones, faucets, etc.
- Checking Appliances – These checking behaviors involve confirming multiple times if household appliances are turned off. This behavior is driven by a variety of obsessions, including the fear of getting hurt and fear of being blamed for irresponsibility.
- Violent Thoughts – The constant fear about getting hurt on purpose or by accident impels a person to double check if doors are locked. Another variation is the fear of hurting someone else, which may drive the person to ensure that the food being prepared will not make his or her loved ones sick.
- Touching Objects – The habit of touching or tapping objects in a particular way borders on the sufferer’s superstitious belief.
- Avoidance – The tendency to avoid situations, places or things that can potentially trigger an OCD attack is a common OCD symptom with the goal to prevent distress or anguish.
- Need for Constant Reassurance – Whether coming from themselves or from others, the reassurance gained provides temporary relief in OCD sufferers.
OCD is the fourth most common behavioral health problem that causes disability in its sufferers. The latest OCD statistics estimate that 1 to 3 percent of the US population is affected by the condition. It can develop at any age, which means that OCD can develop early in childhood. In fact, it is estimated that 1 in every 100 American children has OCD. However, OCD mostly develops during early adulthood.
The condition is mistakenly thought to be more of a female disorder. In truth, it can occur with equal frequency in men, women, and ethnic origins. The fact that it is genderless explains the reason why there is no difference between the number of men and women with OCD. It can be devastating in the way it impacts various aspects of life, such as relationships, school, career, and more.
It is clear in the minds of people with OCD that their obsessive and compulsive behaviors are not helping with their anxiety. Still, there is the compulsion to engage or perform those particular behaviors. Often, they feel too embarrassed to get help. Obsessive compulsive disorder is not likely to get better on its own. It is not just a phase, but it is a vicious cycle that can worsen if not treated.
The good news is that OCD can be improved and treated. Knowing these facts about OCD gives you an advantage in seeking professional help, whether for yourself or for someone you know. Get started by calling Carolina Counseling Services – Fayetteville, NC and have the peace of mind from reassurance of patient/therapist confidentiality. Since OCD has different manifestations in different people, you can select and be matched with the right fit therapist independently contracted with CCS – Fayetteville, NC to ensure proper resolution of your issues. Call now to request an appointment!
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Carolina Counseling Services contracts independently with Licensed professional counselors/therapists/psychologists who provide a friendly, relaxed atmosphere to everyone. Carolina Counseling Services independently contracted therapists assist individuals, couples, families, and children with counseling services that will help put your life back on track. Working with both non military and military is a joy and the therapist you choose will be happy to assist you whether you are a "civilian", or if you are a dependent or retiree.
Counseling and Therapy are often used interchangeably in our English language. The same is true for Counselor and Therapist. It really doesn't matter which word you use. When you need help, it is best to talk to someone who is not only objective, but who has had lots of experience helping others who have been in similar situations as yourself. A friendly Counselor or Therapist who is trained, licensed and experienced is the one who can assist the most. You don't have to figure it out alone. All independently contracted therapists are licensed, friendly professionals. Call to schedule your appt now!
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Evening and Weekend Appts Available with specific therapists
Evening and Weekend appointments: We have therapists available for appointments from 8am to 8pm Monday through Friday. Some therapists have Saturday appointments available if requested.
Serving Areas: Carolina Counseling Services
Counties: Cumberland, Hoke, Bladen, Sampson, and Robeson Counties, NC
Areas: Fayetteville NC, Ft Bragg NC, Pope Field NC, Hope Mills NC, Raeford NC, Rockfish NC, Sliver City NC, Cedar Creek NC, Bowmore NC, Autryville NC, Parkton NC, Bunnlevel NC, Erwin NC, Dundarrach NC, Broadway NC, Pineview NC, Lumber Bridge, NC, Rex NC, Lemon Springs NC, Johnsonville NC, Eastover NC, Stedman NC and Wade, NC.
Military Community areas: Ardennes NC Bataan NC, Casablanca NC, Anzio Acre, NC, Corregidor NC, Bougainville NC, Hammond Hills NC, Nijimegen NC, Cherbourg NC, Normandy NC, Bastogne NC, Pope NC, Ste Mere Eglise NC,
Zip Codes: 28301, 28302, 28303, 28304, 28305, 28306, 28307, 28309, 28311, 28312, 28314