Obsessive-Compulsive & Related Disorders

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What Is Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder?

Obsessive-Compulsive and related disorders include obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), body dysmorphic disorder, hoarding disorder, trichotillomania (hair-pulling disorder), and excoriation (skin-picking) disorder. Often called the doubting disease, OCD is typically characterized by the presence of obsessions and compulsions that the individual finds difficult to control. Obsessions are characterized as unwanted intrusive thoughts, urges, images, or impulses. Common obsessions include a need for cleanliness, concerns over germs, fear of doing something blasphemous or causing harm to others, and a need for symmetry or to do things “the right way.” Individuals with obsessions often perform compulsive behaviors to reduce fears associated with their obsessions. Compulsions, also known as “rituals,” are repeated actions or thought patterns that are intended to rid troublesome obsessions. Common compulsions include: excessive washing or cleaning, checking behavior (e.g., repeatedly looking to see if the oven is turned off), repeating behaviors (e.g., switching a light switch 15 times), mental rituals (e.g., repeating phrases or numbers), and organizing possessions in a set pattern (e.g., color-coordinating items of clothing). Some other disorders included in this category are also characterized by preoccupations and by repetitive behaviors or mental acts in response to those preoccupations. Others are characterized primarily by recurrent body-focused repetitive behavior (e.g., hair pulling, skin-picking) and repeated attempts to decrease or stop the behaviors.

OCD occurs gradually in both adults and children/adolescents and has a chronic course. Boys most commonly develop OCD in childhood while girls typically develop OCD in early adulthood. OCD has a genetic component and is heritable. People with OCD often have family members with OCD and other anxiety problems. Learning and life stress also contribute to the development of OCD. Most people have thoughts similar to the thoughts that bother people with OCD; however, people who have OCD are more bothered by these thoughts. They then try to avoid them or develop compulsions to neutralize them. The avoidance and compulsions make the thoughts stronger.

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Please contact our Director of Intake Services at 212-595-9559 (ext.1) or 914-385-1150 (ext.1), or fill out the form above, with any questions regarding eligibility, for further information, or to make a referral. If you are a current patient at CBC, please speak to your individual therapist to see how this group may be of added benefit to you.