Is OCD a Mental Illness?

Ocd New York, NY

Many people have suffered from obsessive-compulsive disorder, or OCD, for years but without knowing it. Until the medical sector put a name to this condition, many individuals just thought they were extremely particular. Today, therapists and psychiatrists have a much better handle on OCD. Because of that, healthcare providers can offer patients proper help.

Is it a mental illness?

A therapist or psychiatrist characterizes the obsessive aspect of this mental illness as repetitive, uncontrollable, and intrusive thoughts. As for the compulsive aspect, OCD entails someone having extremely strong and, sometimes, irrational urges to perform specific actions. OCD is a combination of obsessive and compulsive behavior. But, not everyone experiences both symptoms.

In other words, some people are merely obsessed about thoughts while others are compulsive in their actions. Then, there are those who struggle with both. Individuals living with this mental health condition wish the compulsion and obsession could stop. Sadly, these patients have virtually no control.

Manifestations of this mental health issue

People with this disorder tend to have repetitive and intrusive thoughts. These thoughts interrupt the individual’s daily activities. One of the most effective ways to understand OCD is by looking at some examples of how it affects people in their daily lives. Here are some of the common signs of this mental disorder:

  • Washing hands over and over throughout the day, often hundreds of times
  • Locking and unlocking the front door a specific number of times
  • Counting and recounting money
  • Clicking the teeth a specific number of times
  • Unwanted and unpleasant sexual images
  • Thoughts of hurting themselves or someone else
  • Fear of saying something inappropriate while out in public

For people with OCD, life can become almost unbearable. In most cases, compulsion and obsession start during childhood, as a teen, or while a young adult. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, over 2% of people in the United States alone receive a diagnosis of OCD during their lifetime. These patients tend to experience an altered way of life that can be stressful even to the people around them.

Known causes

Although a treatable form of mental illness, doctors are not quite sure what leads up to the development of OCD. What they do know is that the brain has something to do with it. Researchers discovered that the brain does not respond to serotonin as it should. Some believe that genetics play a role. Studies show that if a parent or sibling has OCD, a close member of the family has as much as a 25% chance of developing it as well.

Diagnosis and treatment

For help with OCD, an individual would need to seek help from either a therapist or psychiatrist who works in this field of medicine. To make a diagnosis, a patient must present particular signs. These include having compulsions, obsessions, or both and struggling to maintain relationships. Other indicators consist of having trouble working and experiencing various disruptions that last at a minimum, one hour per day. Below are some of the basic diagnostic methods a doctor uses to diagnose an obsessive-compulsive patient:

  • A physical exam can rule out problems that could be causing symptoms. It is also a way for the doctor to check related complications.
  • A psychological evaluation will enable the doctor to discuss the patient’s symptoms, thoughts, behavior patterns, and feelings. This will help determine if the patient has compulsive behaviors or obsessions that affect the patient’s quality of life negatively. The doctor may ask the patient’s permission to talk to the patient’s friends or family members.

As for treating OCD, a therapist or psychiatrist typically takes a multifaceted approach. Medication that increases the level of serotonin in the brain often helps. Psychotherapy is another beneficial treatment. Most often, a doctor provides cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), which works by changing a patient’s thoughts. Exposure and response therapy (ERT) is also beneficial.

Knowing the side effects of the psychiatric medications will allow the patient to prepare for them. The doctor may need to keep an eye on the patient during the drug treatment. The patient must establish an open line of communication with the doctor. Most antidepressants are not harmful. Even so, the FDA still requires the packages to have black box warnings. Suicidal thoughts occurring with the drug therapy will need immediate medical intervention.

Overcoming the effects of OCD

If you have any of the telltale signs of OCD, it is important that you see a therapist or psychiatrist. With an examination, the doctor can diagnose this mental illness. From there, they will determine the type of treatment that you need. Contact your doctor today.

Request an appointment here: https://nycpsychiatricassociates.com or call NYC Psychiatric Associates at (917) 391-0076 for an appointment in our New York office.

Check out what others are saying about our services on Yelp: Read our Yelp reviews.

Recent Posts

Psychiatry: Early Signs Of PTSD

In psychiatry, doctors study and treat a wide range of conditions. Difficult life events can bring on some of these issues. Post-traumatic stress disorder is a good example. It is important for you to recognize the signs of this illness. Once you know it is affecting your life, you can get the help you need.…

Can TMS Treat Depression Completely?

TMS is a non-invasive treatment for severe depression. It is a versatile treatment. A psychiatrist can also use it for other issues. Many patients feel the positive effects of this treatment. If you want to know if TMS can result in a full recovery from depression, here are the details.The patient’s first appointment is referred…

Do Psychiatrists Offer Therapy?

Wondering whether a psychiatrist can also provide talk therapy? Read on to learn more. While all psychiatrists treat mental health issues using medications, some can decide whether or not to offer formal therapy sessions for talks as a routine over time to solve a specific problem, modify behavioral patterns or deal with past events.A psychiatrist…

TMS Therapy Vs. Electroconvulsive Therapy For Severe Depression

Brain stimulation techniques like transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) can manage severe cases of depression. Psychiatrists will recommend brain stimulation for mental health issues that are resistant to more conservative treatment options. They might use this type of intervention as a standalone treatment or as part of a larger treatment plan. Transcranial…

Recent Posts

Psychiatry: Early Signs Of PTSD

Psychiatry: Early Signs Of PTSD

In psychiatry, doctors study and treat a wide range of conditions. Difficult life events can bring on some of these issues. Post-traumatic stress disorder is a good example. It is important for you to recognize the signs of this illness. Once you know it is affecting your life, you can get the help you need.…

Can TMS Treat Depression Completely?

Can TMS Treat Depression Completely?

TMS is a non-invasive treatment for severe depression. It is a versatile treatment. A psychiatrist can also use it for other issues. Many patients feel the positive effects of this treatment. If you want to know if TMS can result in a full recovery from depression, here are the details.The patient’s first appointment is referred…

The psychiatric oasis for patients and physicians.