What Is Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder?

​Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a mental health condition that affects patients of all ages and is characterized by uncontrollable, recurring thoughts (obsessions) and behaviors (compulsions) that the patient is compelled to complete. Certain patients develop obsessions including counting or intrusive repetitive words or phrases as well as compulsive behaviors that must be repeated without interruption, even if that behavior impacts their social interactions or quality of life.

What Are the Symptoms of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder?

Patients with OCD may exhibit either obsessive symptoms, compulsive symptoms, or a combination of the two. Obsessions are repeated thoughts, mental images, or urges that cause the patient anxiety. For example, a patient may experience persistent thoughts that are aggressive or harmful in nature, have a preoccupation with symmetry and order, or focus on unwanted forbidden thoughts of a sexual or religious nature. Compulsions are behaviors that a patient feels the impulse to complete time and time again. These may include arranging items in a particular sequence, repeatedly checking behaviors such as checking if a door is locked or the oven is off, as well as cleaning or hand washing. The diagnosis of OCD is given when these thoughts and behaviors are uncontrollable and excessive to the point of impeding with everyday life.

How Is OCD Treated?

Once a patient is diagnosed with OCD, Dr. Mitchell creates a customized treatment plan to address his or her specific needs. Dr. Mitchell treats her patients with obsessive compulsive disorder with a combination of medication and specific modes of psychotherapy such as exposure and response prevention therapy. The combination of therapy which can help patients recognize and control their compulsive behaviors with medication treatment in OCD can help patients overcome the distressing symptoms experienced in this disorder as well as address the imbalance.