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It is normal to go back and make sure that your car is locked, or to make sure the alarm is set for the right time once or twice, but for people with OCD or obsessive compulsive disorder checking the locks and the alarm clock becomes an obsessive ritual that is preformed many times throughout the day. Fortunately there is treatment OCD that can and has helped many people suffering from this horrible disorder.

What is OCD?

OCD is an anxiety disorder that causes a person to have unwanted thoughts and repetitive ritualized behavior that these people feel they have to perform. People suffering from OCD may realize that their behavior is irrational but are still unable to stop performing their rituals.

There are a few different types of OCD including washers, hoarders, checkers, doubters, and counters and arrangers. Washers are of course people that repeatedly wash their hands and/or their bodies because they have an irrational fear of germs. Checkers check locks, alarm clocks, seatbelts, and the like because they associate it with harm or danger. Hoarders are individuals that think some sort of harm will come if they throw something away or even if they sell it or give it away. They often feel abandoned and fill the space in their homes with items that they don’t need or use. Counters and arrangers are obsessed with order and symmetry; they are superstitious about certain numbers and colors and have to make sure that certain things remain in a certain order.

The treatment OCD for this would be exposure therapy. Exposure therapy starts with counseling sessions in which the individual tell the psychiatrist what and why they do certain things such as obsessively washing, checking, etc. Once the psychiatrist identifies the problem they can move on to the exposure. The exposure for treatment OCD starts with small exposures such as getting a hoarder to throw away one item, getting a germaphobe to sit at a dirty picnic table, or asking them to reduce the number of times they perform a ritual.

The counseling sessions continue so that the patient can keep talking about his or her stresses and so that they can figure out just what exactly they are afraid and what makes them feel like they need to repeat their rituals. Once the patient shows progress in treatment OCD they can then move on to major exposures such as having a hoarder have a garage in which they sell all of their “sentimental” items and what isn’t sold goes to charity, making a germaphobe face their worst fear whether it be going in a port-a-potty or eating outdoors. Once this exposure is complete the treatment OCD still continues, the counseling continues until the patient feels more comfortable in daily situations and has their life back to normal.

Obsessive compulsive disorder is one of the most common forms of anxiety and plagues millions of people all over the world, there is treatment available and has already helped thousands of these people.