The alarm goes off at exactly 6 a.m. for John. He makes his coffee—after making sure there are exactly ten coffee filters in his cupboards- and gets dressed. It’s Tuesday so he has to wear the blue shirt. Before leaving, he checks to make sure the oven is off ten times and has to lock the door behind him exactly ten times. Finally, he’s off to work. But on his drive over, he’s overcome by the thought that he didn’t actually turn his stove off. He must have miscounted or ended on an odd number. He tries to ignore this urge, but the thought that he forgot to turn the oven off and his house is burning down keeps looping in his head. His anxiety worsens and he finally gives in and turns around to double check. After performing his ritual one more time, he’s on his way to work again.
In this fictional story, John might be struggling with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). OCD is a terrifying and consuming disorder that can make it hard to function in even the simplest of ways.
OCD can make it feel like your brain is being hijacked. Of course, you would never actually hurt someone, but those violent images keep pushing their way into your brain whenever you pass someone. Logically, you know driving through a yellow light without counting by threes won’t bring harm to your spouse, but you can’t seem to stop.
In the anxiety-driven life of OCD though, these situations feel real and very compelling. The only way to stop these intrusive thoughts are rituals, even if those rituals are at the expense of your personal health.
Thriveworks Dover understands the complexities of living with OCD. The uniqueness of each though and ritual can make it can feel isolating, even by people who claim to understand. But you are not fighting this alone. Dover counselors for OCD are here and will walk with you every step of the way. Together, we can wrestle back control of your mind and life.
What Is OCD?
OCD is first and foremost a disorder—not a personal fault. It is not a show of weakness; it is biological impulses driven by past history and behaviors. It is not your fault, but recovery is in your hands. And it is possible! It is not a load you have to bear alone. Thriveworks Dover OCD counselors are here to share your burden with you and help you towards recovery.
So, what is OCD? It may seem strange and random, but there is a science to it. OCD has two “parts”: an obsession (a thought) that causes anxiety, and a compulsion (a ritual or action) that can temporarily stop the obsessive thought. The obsession and compulsion combine to form an urge that is strong enough to override all other rational thoughts.
There are many stereotypes of OCD perpetuated by the media and society. Thriveworks Dover understands you are much, much more than your individual OCD. It is not simply being “so OCD” that you have to keep your pens straight and laundry put away. It goes far beyond simple order and cleanliness (in fact, order and cleanliness might not even be a part of it!).
A few examples of some obsessions OCD might bring include:
- Repeated unwanted ideas
- Fear of contamination
- Aggressive impulses
- Persistent sexual thoughts
- Images of hurting someone you love
- Thoughts that you might cause others harm
- Thoughts that you might be harmed
There are of course many more intrusive thoughts you might be experiencing. Often, people will experience more than one, adding to the complexity and fear involved with OCD. There is always hope though. Thriveworks Dover has methods that we can implement to stop the obsessions before they cause too much anxiety. Common compulsions include:
- Constant checking
- Constant counting
- The repeated cleaning of one or more items
- Repeatedly washing your hands
- Constantly checking the stove, door locks, or windows
- Arranging items to face a certain way
Compulsions are unique to the person, although they probably have used the same compulsion for a while. It is possible and likely they will shift and change as time goes on.
What Does Treatment Look Like?
Thriveworks Dover always puts the client first. You are a unique individual with many facets and levels. Your personal goals, frustrations, family life, work job, and- yes- your obsessions and compulsions, go into the counseling process. We always create an individualized personal treatment plan so that you can build the life best fit for you. At Thriveworks Dover, we most often use medication and talk therapy to address OCD.
Medication to treat emotional and behavioral issues can be painted in a bad light, but since OCD is mainly a biological condition, medication can be very helpful. At its core, OCD is a chemical imbalance. Therefore, medication can be necessary in your recovery. Our OCD counselors will be with you every step of the way as we navigate the tricky path of finding medication and dosage that works for you.
Talk therapy is the second, equally as important, aspect. Thriveworks Dover’s counselors are highly trained in different methods of talk therapy and can help you pinpoint where your obsessions start. Then we can stop them before they are fully formed. It’s far from easy, but it’s also more than possible.
You deserve the freedom to chase the life you’ve always dreamed of. Thriveworks Dover is excited to begin that journey with you.