Did I close the door? I should check one more time. Is it locked? Am I sure it is locked? What if someone breaks in and I did not lock the door? Is it really closed? This is an example of the thoughts that constantly may run through your head, pervading your mind, preventing you from living your life. These repetitive thoughts are known as obsessions. These obsessions may lead to compulsive actions or behaviors you feel necessary to perform. You may feel that this cycle of thought then action may help you reduce anxiety or feel better. Which, in the short run, might be true, however, this is just a temporary fix. This relief is only short term and then leads to an endless continuation of the cycle.
These thoughts may seem minimal but even minimal thoughts can expand and grow and interfere with your everyday life. Similar to a cancerous skin mole, the longer you let it grow, the more it spreads and can cause a major impact in your life.
Common intrusive thoughts may include:
- Contamination from objects, people, or places
- The fear of an illness, death, or dying
- Leaving an appliance on or a door unlocked
- Forgetting an appointment, commitment, or something important
- The fear of hurting yourself or someone else
- The fear of losing something or throwing away something
Having intrusive thoughts may lead to actions that are specific to your thoughts. For example, if you are constantly thinking about dirt or becoming contaminated, you may feel the need to wash your hands over and over.
This pattern of behavior or cycle is known as Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). It is more common than you may think and there is treatment.
AOTCF simple tip – “Allowing thoughts to have a place in your mind, no matter how uncomfortable they may be, is a good first step in the process of treatment”.
The Anxiety and OCD Treatment Center of Florida successfully treats children, teens and adults using the first-line gold standard of treatment for OCD, a specific Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) called Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP). Most professionals agree that a combination of CBT ERP and medication is most effective for treating moderate to severe cases. Depending on the individual, other modalities of treatment we use in conjunction with ERP include Acceptance Commitment Therapy (ACT) and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), as well as Medication Management. AOTCF offers a number of OCD treatment programs including Individual Therapy, Family or Parent Therapy, Intensive Treatment Therapy, Group Therapy, Teletherapy and Home Visits.