OCD – Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

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Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

OCD, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, affects millions of men, women and children of all ages and lifestyles. It is currently estimated that about 1 in 40 adults in the U.S. (2.3% of the population) and 1 in 100 children have OCD.

OCD can manifest in a variety of ways and is characterized as a mental health disorder in which people experience OBSESSIONS and COMPULSIONS.


Thoughts, images, or impulses that occur over and over again and feel out of the person's control. The person does not wish to have these usually disturbing and unwanted thoughts, and typically the individual knows the thoughts don’t make sense. The thoughts are typically accompanied by uncomfortable feelings, such as fear, disgust, doubt, or a feeling that things have to be done in a way that is "just right." Often times, the obsessions take up lots of time and interfere with a person’s functionality and routine.

Common obsessions include:

  • Contamination
  • Losing Control
  • Harm to self or others
  • Perfectionism
  • Unwanted Sexual Thoughts
  • Religious Obsessions (Scrupulosity)


Repetitive physical behaviors or mental thoughts and rituals that a person engages in to neutralize, counteract, or make their obsessions and subsequent feelings go away. Compulsions can also include avoiding situations that trigger obsessions. Compulsions are extremely time consuming and can get in the way of work, school, social engagements, and other important activities of daily life that individual’s value.

Common compulsions include:

  • Washing and cleaning
  • Checking
  • Repeating, doing and undoing
  • Mental reviewing
  • Praying
  • Counting
  • Asking or confessing to get reassurance
  • Avoiding situations that may trigger obsessions

While the exact cause of OCD is not known, research suggests differences of the brain and genes (genetics) of those affected may play a role.

It is not uncommon for the onset of OCD to occur during developmental ages, puberty, and major life milestones such as college, weddings, or childbirth, as well as traumatic experiences. Usually the individual was already predisposed to the condition.

Most of us will experience some obsessive thoughts and engage in compulsive behavior at different points in our lives, but that doesn’t mean we all have “a little OCD.”

However, if the cycle of being constantly bombarded with unwanted thoughts and feeling compelled to take compulsive actions is consuming many hours of your days, making you miserable, and getting in the way of your regular routines, relationships and responsibilities, there is a good chance you do have OCD and should seek professional help. Left untreated, OCD is a progressive disorder and is notorious for getting worse and more debilitating over time.

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.