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Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Joshua D. Feder, M.D.

Child & Family Psychiatry located in Solana Beach, CA

If you’re troubled by intrusive and persistent thoughts that cause anxious feelings and compulsive behaviors, you may have obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Joshua D. Feder, M.D., a board-certified psychiatrist practicing in Solana Beach, California, offers expert diagnosis and treatments to help you manage this anxiety disorder and lead a healthy and fulfilling life. If your thoughts and behaviors interfere with your daily life, call Dr. Feder or schedule an appointment online today.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Q & A

What is an obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)?

OCD is an anxiety disorder characterized by persistent and intrusive thoughts, referred to as obsessions, that lead to repetitive behaviors, known as compulsions. Having focused or distracted thoughts doesn’t indicate a disorder in itself, as many people find themselves fixated on an idea or topic from time to time.

OCD is diagnosed when these thoughts interfere with your regular activities and responsibilities or trigger feelings of anxiety.

What’s the difference between obsessions and compulsions?

Obsessions are anxiety-inducing thoughts or feelings. You may be aware that your obsessions aren’t true or you may wholeheartedly believe your obsessions. Some common themes of obsessive thoughts include:

  • Fear of contamination
  • Fear of losing control
  • Fear of harm to self or others
  • Perfectionism
  • Unwanted sexual thoughts
  • Religious preoccupation
  • Superstitious ideas about numbers, colors, etc

 

Compulsions are repetitive behaviors that relieve or abate your obsession. For example, if you have a contamination obsession, you may excessively wash your hands, shower, or brush your teeth. Other compulsions include repeating things (often in specific multiples) and mental compulsions like reviewing events, praying, counting, or organizing objects.

Are compulsions different than Tourette syndrome behaviors?

Dr. Feder and other psychiatrists are studying the correlation between compulsive behaviors and tics or Tourette syndrome symptoms. While OCD and Tourette are separate disorders, there is a high incidence of concurrent symptoms and similarities between compulsions and tics as well as symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

Tics are often stimulated by a sensory perception that causes discomfort that is relieved by the tic. Compulsions are triggered by an obsessive thought that is relieved by the action.

How is OCD treated?

Many patients with OCD benefit from cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT helps you learn to recognize your thoughts and feelings, the situations that trigger them, and to adjust your behavioral responses to your thoughts. In addition to your in-office therapy sessions, Dr. Feder gives you activities to practice at home so you can continue to develop your skills between appointments.

You may also benefit from practicing mindfulness. While mindfulness is something of a buzzword these days, the practice of focusing on the present moment is often helpful when managing OCD and other anxiety disorders, especially when fears about the future disrupt your life.

Medication is also often helpful for OCD.  Dr. Feder is an expert in carefully using thoughtful pharmacological strategies when needed to address the symptom of OCD.

Call Dr. Feder today or schedule a consultation online for expert diagnosis and treatment for OCD.