CBT Institute of Israel

What is CBT   OCD   Phobia   Anxiety   Depression   Eating   Parenting   Blog   Contact
Cognitive-Behavioral Psychologist

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

What is obsessive-compulsive disorder?
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is an illness that causes people to have unwanted thoughts (obsessions) and to repeat certain behaviors (compulsions) over and over again. We all have habits and routines in our daily lives, such as brushing our teeth before bed. However, for people with OCD, patterns of behavior get in the way of their daily lives.
Most people with OCD know that their obsessions and compulsions make no sense, but they can't ignore or stop them.

What are obsessions?
Obsessions are ideas, images and impulses that run through the person's mind over and over again. A person with OCD doesn't want to have these thoughts and finds them disturbing, but he or she can't control them. Sometimes these thoughts just come once in a while and are only mildly annoying. Other times, a person who has OCD will have obsessive thoughts all the time.

What are compulsions?
Obsessive thoughts make people who have OCD feel nervous and afraid. They try to get rid of these feelings by performing certain behaviors according to "rules" that they make up for themselves. These behaviors are called compulsions. (Compulsive behaviors are sometimes also called rituals.) For example, a person who has OCD may have obsessive thoughts about germs. Because of these thoughts, the person may wash his or her hands repeatedly after using a public toilet. Performing these behaviors usually only makes the nervous feelings go away for a short time. When the fear and nervousness return, the person who has OCD repeats the routine all over again.

What are some common obsessions?
The following are some common obsessions:

  • Fear of dirt or germs
  • Disgust with bodily waste or fluids
  • Concern with order, symmetry (balance) and exactness
  • Worry that a task has been done poorly, even when the person knows this is not true
  • Fear of thinking evil or sinful thoughts
  • Thinking about certain sounds, images, words or numbers all the time
  • Need for constant reassurance
  • Fear of harming a family member or friend
  • Excessive concerns with minor physical symptoms (Hypochondria)
  • Preoccupation with specific part of the body as flawed (BDD)

What are some common compulsions?
The following are some common compulsions:

  • Cleaning and grooming, such as washing hands, showering or brushing teeth over and over again
  • Checking drawers, door locks and appliances to be sure they are shut, locked or turned off
  • Repeating, such as going in and out of a door, sitting down and getting up from a chair, or touching certain objects several times
  • Ordering and arranging items in certain ways
  • Counting over and over to a certain number
  • Saving newspapers, mail or containers when they are no longer needed
  • Seeking constant reassurance and approval
  • Pulling out hairs, eyelashes, eyebrows (Trichotillomania)
  • Motor or vocal tics such as blinking, clearing throat, moving hands/legs (Tourette's Syndrome)

Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP)
The most effective psychological treatment for OCD is Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy. The mostly widely practised behaviour therapy for OCD is called exposure and response prevention (ERP).
The "exposure" part of this treatment involves direct or imagined controlled exposure to objects or situations that trigger obsessions that arouse anxiety. Over time, exposure to obsessional cues leads to less and less anxiety. Eventually, exposure to the obsessional cue arouses little anxiety at all. This process of getting "used to" obsessional cues is called "habituation."
The "response" in "response prevention" refers to the ritual behaviours that people with OCD engage in to reduce anxiety. In ERP treatment, patients learn to resist the compulsion to perform rituals and are eventually able to stop engaging in these behaviours.

How effective is ERP?
Even patients with longstanding and severe symptoms of OCD can benefit from ERP treatment. Success depends on a number of factors and requires that the patient be motivated to get well.
Studies documenting the benefits of ERP treatment have found that upwards of 75 per cent of patients experience improvement in their OCD symptoms during treatment. The majority show long-term improvement two and three years after treatment.

 

 


Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Therapy, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Treatment.

Locations


Contact

Testimonials

Phobia - Hebrew

Eating Disorder - Hebrew

OCD - Hebrew