OCD Treatment Milford, CT

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) can leave people feeling on edge in even the most mundane moments. Without the proper treatment, performing everyday activities can feel like a struggle. We aim to provide personalized OCD treatment for each of our patients and their unique needs.

OCD treatment is available at Bloom Psych Services in Milford and to patients in the surrounding area. Do not hesitate to find relief for your symptoms. Call us today at (475) 338-0469 to schedule an appointment or learn more about our services.

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Understanding OCD

OCD, or obsessive-compulsive disorder, is a mental health disorder that can affect patients of all ages and lifestyles. As the name suggests, the disorder is characterized by a cycle of obsessions and compulsions. According to the International OCD Foundation, obsessions are "unwanted, intrusive thoughts, images, or urges that trigger intensely distressing feelings." People with International OCD Foundation partake in compulsions to purge their obsessions and decrease their distress. For example, if someone has an obsessive fear of being contaminated by germs, they may compulsively wash their hands.

While most people experience obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors at some point during their lifetimes, that does not mean that everyone has "a little bit of OCD." Instead, a licensed professional can make a diagnosis when the cycle of obsessions and compulsions becomes extreme enough to consume a considerable amount of time and disrupt important activities that the patient values.

“As the name suggests, the disorder is characterized by a cycle of obsessions and compulsions.”

Symptoms of OCD

Though most patients with OCD have both obsessions and compulsions, is possible to have only obsessions or only compulsions. For many patients, their obsessions and compulsions have become so normalized that they do not realize they are excessive or unreasonable. In reality, these issues take on a great deal of time and interfere with activities of daily living, along with social, school, or work functioning.

Obsessions

Obsessions in OCD are intrusive, distressing, repetitive, persistent, and unwanted images, thoughts, or urges. Patients may try to ignore obsessions or purge them by performing a compulsive behavior or ritual. Still, OCD obsessions are likely to intrude when the patient is trying to think of or do other things.

Common themes of obsessions include fear of contamination or dirt, needing things orderly and symmetrical, doubting and having difficulty tolerating uncertainty, aggressive or horrific thoughts about losing control, and harming oneself or others.

Compulsions

OCD compulsions are repetitive behaviors or thoughts that a patient feels compelled to perform. In either case, the compulsions are meant to reduce any obsession-related anxiety and to prevent something bad from happening. Unfortunately, performing these compulsions brings no pleasure. Any relief they bring from anxiety is only temporary. Some patients may make up rules or rituals to follow to help control their anxiety when not having obsessive thoughts.

These are excessive compulsions that are usually not realistically related to the problem they are meant to fix. Common themes of compulsions include:

  • Washing and cleaning
  • Counting things often
  • Needing things in a specific order
  • Checking something repeatedly
  • Following a strict routine
  • Demanding reassurance

Early-Occurring Symptoms

OCD can start in childhood, but it usually begins in the teen or young adult years. Symptoms will appear gradually and tend to vary in severity throughout life. Patients may also experience different types of obsessions and compulsions over time. In some cases, symptoms typically worsen when experiencing greater stress.

Usually considered a lifelong disorder, OCD may have mild to moderate symptoms or severe, disabling ones. In any case, patients should seek professional attention if their obsessions or compulsions are affecting their quality of life in any way.

“Though most patients with OCD have both obsessions and compulsions, it is possible to have only obsessions or only compulsions.”

Diagnosing OCD

There may be several steps involved in diagnosing OCD, including a psychological evaluation using diagnostic criteria for OCD and a physical exam. A psychological evaluation may involve discussing any thoughts, feelings, symptoms, and behavior patterns the patient may have to determine if they are dealing with obsessions or compulsive behaviors interfering with their quality of life. Some patients may also give their doctor permission to talk to their family or friends about such behaviors.

Furthermore, the psychological evaluation will likely be using the criteria in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), published by the American Psychiatric Association. A physical exam may be necessary to rule out any other problems that could be causing the symptoms or to check for any related complications.

Diagnosing OCD can sometimes be difficult as the symptoms can be similar to several other mental health conditions. These include anxiety disorders, depression, schizophrenia, and other mental health disorders. It is also possible to have OCD and one or more mental health disorders at the same time. As such, it is imperative that patients work together with their doctors to make sure they get the most appropriate diagnosis and treatment.

“There may be several steps involved in diagnosing OCD, including a psychological evaluation using diagnostic criteria for OCD and a physical exam.”

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Types of OCD Treatment

Though OCD treatment may not result in a cure, it can help control symptoms, so they no longer rule one's daily life. The type of treatment one needs depends on how severe the symptoms are. The two main types of treatment for OCD are psychotherapy and medications, with a combination of the two often being the most successful.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of psychotherapy commonly used for persons with OCD. There is a component of CBT known as exposure and response prevention (ERP). In ERP, the patient is gradually exposed to a feared object or obsession. The therapist will then help the patient learn healthy ways to resist the urge to perform their compulsive rituals.

Certain psychiatric medications can help control OCD obsessions and compulsions. Antidepressants are most commonly tried first. Common antidepressants include clomipramine (Anafranil), fluoxetine (Prozac), fluvoxamine, paroxetine (Paxil, Pexeva), and sertraline (Zoloft). Other antidepressants and psychiatric medications may also help. When choosing a medication, there are several factors to consider, including side effects and drug interactions. A doctor can help discuss these factors in detail with each patient.

At times, psychotherapy and medications are not sufficient to control OCD symptoms. In such cases, other options may be explored. For example, people with treatment-resistant cases may want to consider intensive outpatient and residential treatment programs, deep brain stimulation (DBS), and transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS).

“Though OCD treatment may not result in a cure, it can help control symptoms, so they no longer rule one’s daily life.”

Benefits of OCD Treatment

Since symptoms tend to get in the way of one's everyday life, there are several reasons why one may want to seek treatment for OCD. Alleviating one's symptoms can help greatly improve one's social life, professional life, school life, and more. For best results, patients may want to combine different treatment modalities, such as medication and CBT.

According to the International OCD Foundation, medication is a generally effective treatment for OCD. Additionally, approximately seven out of 10 people with OCD will benefit either from medication or ERP. Patients who benefit from medication also typically see their OCD symptoms reduced by 40% to 60%. However, medication must be taken regularly and as directed for it to work. Patients experiencing side effects should bring them up with their doctor so they can be addressed. It may be necessary to change the medication dosage or to change the medication altogether.

“Since symptoms tend to get in the way of one’s everyday life, there are several reasons why one may want to seek treatment for OCD.”

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What are the risk factors for OCD?

A. While the causes of OCD are unknown, the disorder can affect people of all ages and lifestyles. Most people are diagnosed around age 19, and the disorder tends to have an earlier age of onset in boys than in girls. However, onset after age 35 is possible. Risk factors of OCD include brain functioning, brain structure, environment, and genetics.

Q. How common is OCD?

A. According to a recent study, obsessions and compulsions are relatively common in the general population — reported in over 28% of people. However, OCD is only diagnosed when obsessions and compulsions become pathological in nature. Thus, diagnosable OCD is found in 1.6% to 2.5% of the population.

Q. Do people with OCD really believe in their obsessions and compulsions?

A. Most people with OCD know very well that their obsessions and compulsions are irrational. However, this does not help weaken the obsessive distress they feel or make their compulsions go away. In fact, this may lead to a heightened degree of shame, embarrassment, and isolation.

Q. What is the difference between an obsession and a worry?

A. A major difference lies in the nature of the worry, anxiety, or fear. Patients with a generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) may have worries that involve real-life situations but excessive degrees of apprehension. In contrast, OCD obsessions usually involve unrealistic fears.

Q. Does OCD ever get worse?

A. OCD typically gets worse with stress or age if not treated properly. As such, it is imperative for patients to seek a doctor as soon as they notice symptoms. Treatment has a greater chance of success if begun early.

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Life isn’t always easy. Are you struggling? Are you looking for a highly personalized and professional approach tailored to your individual needs? Instead of waiting around, call us today. You should know that there is hope for a better tomorrow.

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Definitions

Antidepressant
Antidepressants are a type of drug used to prevent or treat OCD or depression.
Anxiety
Anxiety is a feeling in which the patient suffers from worried thoughts, tension, and certain physical changes.
Behavioral therapy
Behavioral therapy describes the broad range of techniques used to alter maladaptive behaviors and treat mental health disorders.
Compulsions
OCD compulsions are repetitive, intentional behaviors that a patient feels obligated to perform to purge themselves of their obsessions.
Coping mechanism
Coping Mechanisms are ways people deal with stress and trauma and the difficult emotions that go with them. The goal is to maintain their well being and stay functional.
Exposure and response prevention (ERP)
Exposure and response prevention, or ERP, is a type of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) used to help patients manage their own symptoms.
Obsessions
OCD obsessions are any unwanted or intrusive thoughts, images, or urges that trigger the patient.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder
Obsessive-compulsive disorder, or OCD, is a mental health disorder that is characterized by a cycle of obsessions and compulsions.
Panic disorder
Panic disorder causes people to experience repeated, unexpected panic attacks.
Psychotherapy
Psychotherapy, also known as talk therapy, is a means of helping patients with several different mental health conditions.
Social anxiety disorder
Social anxiety disorder is a mental health condition that causes people to experience irrational anxiety during social interactions.
Stress
Stress is a mental or emotional strain from a circumstance, usually, one that a person feels they need to act on and so their body releases all these chemicals to prepare one to act.

Call Us Today

Obsessive-compulsive behaviors do not have to rule your life. We at Bloom Psych Services can help you learn more about OCD and how to manage its symptoms. Call us today at 475-338-0469 to schedule an appointment or learn more about our services.

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