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Obsessions & Compulsions
Patients with obsssive-compulsive disorder (OCD) have repeated obsessive thoughts or engage in ritualistic compulsive behavior. Intrusive thoughts can be graphic (imagining scenes of death or violence) or more banal (e.g. related to cleanliness). Stereotypical rituals include excessive hand-washing or checking that a door is locked or a stove turned off. But there are a multitude of different thoughts or behaviors that may manifest. While OCD affects people differently, the commonality is that the behaviors (or thoughts) negatively affect the daily lives of those afflicted.
From a distance, patients often recognize that their obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors are irrational. Yet they persist nevertheless because they are involuntary. This is why the thoughts and behaviors recur, even though they are distressing.
First-line treatments typically include a specific type of cognitive behavioral therapy called "exposure and response prevention". While we do not provide such therapy at Apraku Psychiatry, we may be able to refer you to a trusted therapist who can. In combination with such therapy, medication prescribed by a psychiatrist can be effective in treating OCD.
Credit: Martha Lamont