Obsessive-compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a common, treatable mental health issue that affects millions of people worldwide.
The OCD & Anxiety Center of Greater Baltimore
Obsessive-compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a common, treatable mental health issue that affects millions of people worldwide. It is characterized by obsessions, which are repeated, unwanted, intrusive thoughts, and compulsions, which are behaviors aimed at reducing the discomfort associated with these thoughts. Compulsions (a.k.a. rituals) can be physical, such as washing or cleaning, or they can be mental or covert, such as excessive analysis, reassurance seeking, or thought-neutralizing strategies.
A disorder is not a character flaw or personality defect. A disorder is simply something that is out of order. We all have unwanted thoughts from time to time and we all have rituals that save us time and energy. When this “normal” experience of coping with unwanted thoughts and rituals begins to impair functioning, causes severe anxiety, takes up significant time, and steals the enjoyment from work, leisure, and relationships, then we call it a dis-order. Fortunately this disorder is well understood and research over the years has provided us with safe and effective evidenced-based therapies that can help develop mastery over OCD.
Common OCD-Related Concerns That We Treat:
Common compulsions: excessive washing, cleaning, reassurance-seeking and avoiding
Common obsessions: fear of making a mistake, causing a tragedy
Common compulsions: excessive checking of light switches, stove, appliances
Just Right OCD
Common obsessions: fear of not being able to tolerate specific feelings without certain conditions
Common compulsions: repeating routine behaviors, arranging/ordering, checking/repeating writing and reading, homework, or work tasks
Common compulsions: checking body for symptoms, excessive googling/researching symptoms, excessive reassurance seeking or avoidance of medical professionals/procedures
Common obsessions: fear of committing violence against self or others, fear of “snapping” and causing harm, intrusive violent thoughts
Common compulsions: avoidance of triggering media, mental review/checking of violent thoughts, reassurance, avoidance of triggering environments
Common obsessions: fear of changing sexual orientation or of being in denial of sexual orientation, intrusive sexual thoughts related to orientation
Common compulsions: checking for arousal in triggering situations, avoidance of triggering situations, excessive mental review of sexual themes
Common obsessions: fear of being sexually attracted to children or fear of being a sexual predator, intrusive thoughts about children
Common compulsions: checking for arousal in triggering situations, avoidance of triggering situations, excessive mental review of behavior around children
Common obsessions: fear of being in the wrong or imperfect relationship, fear of not being in love with partner or choosing the wrong partner
Common compulsions: checking for “love feelings”, avoiding triggering situations, excessive mental review of qualities of relationship
Common obsessions: fear of religious blasphemy, sin, or of exercising faith inadequately, unwanted intrusive thoughts of a religious nature
Common compulsions: compulsive prayer, excessive review of religious concepts, avoidance of triggering situations, excessive performance of religious rituals
Common obsessions: fear of being morally imperfect, fear of being dishonest, fear of committing, having committed, or being accused of an immoral or disloyal act
Common compulsions: mental review of memories or perceived bad acts, excessive attention to issues of honesty or morality, reassurance-seeking about moral issues
Common obsessions: focused fear of specific triggers, such as throwing up (emetophobia), small spaces (claustrophobia), open spaces (agoraphobia), specific animals or environments
Common compulsions: avoiding triggers directly or indirectly, various rituals designed to feel certain that triggers will not occur
Common obsessions: fear of being evaluated negatively by others, fear of public speaking, fear of being humiliated in public, fear of not being able to connect with others socially
Common compulsions: avoidance of social situations, mental review of social interactions, excessive comparison of self to others
Body Dysmorphic Disorder
Common obsessions: fear of being unattractive or of having a physical deformity
Common compulsions: excessive weighing, mirror checking, ritualized eating, checking of specific body parts
Common obsessions: presence of panic attacks and fear of having panic attacks
Common compulsions: avoiding situations that could trigger attacks, avoiding environments that do not have easy escapes
Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Common obsessions: excessive and impairing fear/worry associated with everyday issues such as work, finance, relationships and responsibilities, fear of becoming anxious
Common compulsions: mental review, reassurance seeking, over-preparing, perfectionism, avoiding situations that may produce anxiety
Common obsessions: fear of not being able to stop attending to breathing, blinking, swallowing, thinking, or other semi-voluntary behaviors
Common compulsions: checking for awareness, excessive distracting, reassurance seeking about symptoms or about what is normal
How We Treat OCD and Anxiety:
Jon Hershfield, MFT
Director of The OCD and Anxiety Center of Greater Baltimore and specialist in the treatment of OCD and related disorders.
Learn more about Jon
Brenda Kijesky, LCMFT
Licensed Clinical Marriage and Family Therapist, treating children and adults with OCD and related disorders.
Learn more about Brenda
Molly Schiffer, LCPC
Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor, treating children, adolescents, and adults with OCD and related disorders.
Learn more about Molly Schiffer