Did you know the average age of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) onset is 19 years old? Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, or OCD, is an anxiety disorder and is characterized by recurrent, unwanted thoughts (obsessions) and/or repetitive behaviors (compulsions). Repetitive behaviors such as hand-washing, counting or cleaning are often performed with the hope of preventing obsessive thoughts or making them go away. Performing these so-called “rituals,” however, provides only temporary relief, and not performing them markedly increases anxiety. Research suggests that OCD involves problems in communication between the front part of the brain and deeper structures. These brain structures use a chemical messenger called serotonin. Pictures of the brain at work also show that in some people, the brain circuits involved in OCD become normalized with either serotonin medicines or cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).
OCD causes severe anxiety in those affected and involves both obsessions and compulsions that interfere with daily life. Obsessions are persistent ideas, thoughts, impulses or images that are experienced as intrusive and inappropriate and cause marked anxiety or distress. The most common obsessions are repeated thoughts about contamination, repeated doubts, a need to have things in a particular order, aggressive or horrific impulses, and sexual imagery. Compulsions are the individuals attempt to suppress such thoughts or impulses or to neutralize them with some other thought or action. These can include repetitive behaviors, such as hand washing, ordering or checking on things; or mental acts, such as praying, counting, or repeating words silently. If you or someone you know has symptoms of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, contact our offices in Temecula, CA to meet with one of our therapists.
What is Hoarding Disorder?
Although Hoarding Disorder used to be considered an OCD-related disorder, it is now thought of as its own separate disorder. Regardless, it can still be effectively treated with techniques similar to, but not entirely the same, as those used for OCD. Hoarding Disorder is defined as the accumulation of, and the failure to discard a large number of possessions that other people would consider useless or of limited value. In addition, living or work spaces are so cluttered that they limit activities for which those spaces were intended. And, significant distress or impairment in functioning is caused by the hoarding behavior. Hoarding Disorder is fueled by four fundamental problems:
- difficulty with making decisions
- a need to do things perfectly
- difficulty organizing
- behavioral avoidance
Our treatment for hoarding will target these four issues simultaneously. This disorder can be effectively treated in the clinic setting provided the person with hoarding is willing and able to bring a steady supplies of boxes of their clutter to the clinic so that they can practice addressing the issues inherent to Hoarding Disorder.
At what age does OCD begin?
OCD can start at any time beginning as early as preschool and continuing to adulthood. Age at onset tends to be earlier in males that in females: between ages 6 and 15 years for males and between ages 20 and 29 years for females.
Is OCD inherited?
Research shows that OCD does run in families and that genes likely play a role in the development of the disorder. Genes appear to be only partly responsible for causing the disorder though and it is thought that it is more likely a combination of genetic susceptibility and environmental influences.
How is OCD diagnosed?
There are no laboratory or brain imaging tests to diagnose OCD. The diagnosis is made based on the observation and assessment of the person’s symptoms by a mental health professional.
How effective are treatments for OCD?
Currently, there is only one type of medication that has been shown to be effective in treating Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SRIs), including clomipramine, have been shown to reduce symptoms in 40% – 60% of patients with OCD. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) has also been shown to be effective. Patients who respond to medication usually show a 40 to 60% reduction in OCD symptoms, while those who respond to CBT often report a 60 to 80% reduction in OCD symptoms.
The Aspire Wellness Program
For admittance at our Temecula, CA offices, we require that the individual is willing to participate in outpatient Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and medication management by our licensed psychiatrists. Each individual admitted to the Aspire Wellness Clinic program will have a therapist and be receiving medication treatment from our outpatient psychiatrist.
What does the treatment consist of?
The Aspire Wellness Clinic OCD Intensive Treatment Program is a comprehensive program that integrates individual therapy, medication management with psychiatrists who specialize in OCD, and family education and support. The program primarily utilizes daily, individual exposure and response prevention (ERP) therapy to help reduce OCD symptoms. ERP is a form of cognitive-behavioral therapy that is based on the fact that prolonged and direct contact with a fearful stimulus, without engaging in compulsive behaviors or avoidance, can diminish anxiety and other distressing emotions. There is considerable research support for the effectiveness of ERP in significantly reducing OCD symptoms. We believe that there are two (2) major advantages of the program, especially for those who have not responded well to outpatient treatment, are: 1) the treatment is supervised, such that each individual will be doing ERP exercises while being observed to ensure that they are done correctly; and 2) the treatment is intensive, in that these exercises are repeated every day, usually multiple times per day.
Schedule An Appointment
If you would like to meet or talk with one of our clinicians about OCD treatment call our Temecula, CA office at (951) 363-3150, or click below to fill out our secure online form.
In addition, sometimes the therapist and client will mutually agree that a consultation with our in-house psychiatrist, Dr. Baroya, would be beneficial for medication management.