Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Treatment

Is OCD Creating Profound Distress In Your Life?

Are obsessive worries, compulsions, or anxieties creating daily stress and disruptions in you or your child’s life? Have your rituals become the only thing that provides you with a sense of calm and stability? Do you struggle with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) alongside other forms of neurodivergence, including Autism and ADHD? Our OCD treatment approach can help.

In a nutshell, OCD is an inability to tolerate uncertainty. Oftentimes, this intolerance translates to daily rituals that dictate your routine, keeping you anxious and preoccupied. You may feel as though you’re stuck inside a loop of distressing thoughts and compulsive habits that only worsen as you try to manage symptoms or regain control. 

Furthermore, your experience of OCD is likely affecting your close relationships. Due to the need to control your environment and engage in rituals, your partner, friends, and family may feel overwhelmed by your behaviors or worry that they’re impacting your ability to connect with others. 

Common Types Of OCD

Though intrusive, unwanted thoughts and compulsive rituals are signs of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder in both children and adults, there are also specific sub-type forms of OCD Spectrum. These include:

  • Contamination OCD – obsessive fear of developing an illness or spreading germs
  • Perfectionism or “Just Right” OCD – overwhelming concerns that things are imbalanced, out of place, or “wrong” in some way 
  • Fear of Harm/Losing Control – intrusive thoughts involving violence or hurting others
  • Relationship OCD – relationship-oriented triggers that may include separation anxiety or fear of intimacy
  • Religious or Moral Scrupulosity – unwanted thoughts or urges that have the potential of violating religious or ethical beliefs
  • Purely Obsessional or “Pure O” OCD – does not involve outward compulsions but is instead the presence of distressing, uncontrollable, intrusive and compulsive thoughts
  • Sexually Themed OCD – intrusive thoughts involving distressing sexual acts or themes of sexual orientation

If you or your child struggle with any of these forms of OCD, or if you experience intrusive thoughts alongside Autism or ADHD, your behaviors and compulsions can be managed with therapeutic treatment. 

What Causes OCD & Who Gets It?

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder occurs in both children and adults, and it affects a wide range of individuals regardless of age, gender, or cultural background. The International OCD Foundation estimates that at least one in every 100 adults struggles with this disorder. While the onset of OCD can occur at any age, children typically exhibit signs between ages eight and twelve or during their late teens.

Research continues about how OCD develops and it’s underlying causes. OCD is thought to be a brain disorder and is also known to have some genetic components as well. This is why we now consider OCD neurodivergent in nature and also a spectrum disorder. Finally, well known evidence suggests it’s a form of an anxiety disorder and that compulsions form when certain behaviors become associated with finding relief from the triggered anxiety. When ritualistic behaviors reinforce distorted beliefs, signs of OCD can worsen. In addition, some individuals may be genetically predisposed to OCD or develop the disorder as a result of PTSD and trauma. 

There is no cure for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, but the right combination of treatments can provide relief.

OCD Is Common In Neurodivergent Individuals

Considered a form of neurodivergence due to processing differences in the brain, OCD can often co-occur with Autism and ADHD. It’s common for neurodivergent individuals to struggle with anxiety as is, but symptoms can often become severe enough to align with obsessive thinking and compulsive behavior patterns. 

When seeking treatment for OCD, it’s important to work with a therapist who is aware of the impact that intrusive thinking can have on your daily life and who fully embraces and understands neurodivergence. As well, it’s important that your therapist can tease out what are OCD-related cycles and what are behaviors more aligned with Autism Spectrum traits. The way we treat these differences in therapy is an important trauma-informed consideration, that often people misunderstand or mislabel. At Spectrum Connections Therapy, we can help you learn how to manage your OCD so that you can live more comfortably. 

Spectrum Connections Therapy Specializes In Issues Of Neurodivergence, Including OCD

Though we treat anxiety disorders of all kinds, we maintain a specific focus on issues of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. By providing structured, collaborative treatment to both children and adults struggling with OCD, you can acquire the skill sets you need to get unstuck from OCD loops. 

Spectrum Connections Therapy’s approach to treatment incorporates coaching and verified therapeutic techniques individualized to provide you with perspective and relief. As we learn more about the challenges you face, treatment will be customized to help you adjust your response to triggers and compulsions.

Therapy That Combines Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Acceptance & Commitment Therapy, Coaching, & Exposure Response Prevention

Fortunately, several evidence-based therapies are highly effective in targeting OCD. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, or CBT, can help you adjust your relationship to your thoughts and behaviors, while Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) allows you to mindfully accept uncertainty and a lack of control. In addition, therapy that incorporates family systems can help you understand the impact that OCD has on your relationships. 

While all of these approaches are valuable in treatment, they work best when combined with Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) which is the gold standard treatment for managing OCD. ERP sessions involve gradually exposing you to situations that trigger intrusive thoughts, discomfort and compulsion urges, which may include visualizations, imagined scenarios, or real life exposures as appropriate. As you observe your fear and stress responses, you will gain the skills you need to implement response prevention and refrain from engaging in the compulsive rituals that temporarily relieve your anxiety. Doing this over an extended period will allow you to respond differently to triggers as your distress significantly decreases. 

However, ERP can be scary and intimidating, therefore coaching and take-home exercises are essential elements of OCD treatment. Spectrum Connections Therapy will provide you with support and encouragement every step of the way as we teach you how to apply the skills you learn during session to your life outside of therapy. 

Using this combination of treatments, OCD will maintain less power and control over how you think, feel, and act. The mindfulness and distress tolerance skills you gain in therapy will help you to break free of the disruptive cycle that OCD has created in your life. 

Maybe You’re Considering Going To Therapy For Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, But You’re Not Quite Sure…

How long does OCD Treatment take? I am not sure I can afford it.

At Spectrum Connections Therapy, we believe that counseling should be the first and primary approach to OCD treatment. There is loads of research that supports therapy as a primary approach to OCD treatment. Therapy gives you a chance to observe your fears, understand how they impact your behaviors, and develop the skills you need to manage triggers and tolerate distress. There is no set timeline for this process as the therapy treatment plan is highly individualized based on your needs. However, our goal as clinicians is to essentially work ourselves out of a job so that you can manage your OCD successfully on your own. 

In addition, we partner with an insurance company to help cover the cost of OCD treatment. Contact us to find out more about which provider we work with, and keep in mind that We are happy to provide a monthly superbill if applicable for your insurance provider.

The idea of Exposure Response Prevention Therapy for my OCD makes me nervous.

You are not alone! We understand that being exposed to your triggers and fears can be scary and anxiety-inducing. Yet, ERP therapy is a highly effective approach to OCD treatment. We specialize in neurodivergence and understand how to gradually and gently incorporate ERP therapy into treatment. You will be supported and encouraged every step of the way as we nurture a collaborative counseling experience that honors your individual pace and needs. 

How often will we meet for OCD treatment?

OCD treatment as Spectrum Connections typically involves weekly sessions because consistency is key in ERP therapy. However, all of the treatment approaches are tailored to meet your and your family’s needs.

If you need more extensive treatment for your OCD, we will refer you to specialists who can help. 

OCD Blog Posts:

How Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is Diagnosed

Most people have a basic understanding of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). But, you might not recognize the signs or symptoms enough to determine if you or someone you care about actually has the disorder.  Unfortunately, that lack of information or understanding could be what’s keeping you from getting the official diagnosis and help you need. 

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Helpful ERP Therapy Considerations for the Autism Spectrum & OCD

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder can often co-occur with the Autism Spectrum Condition. In fact, 17.4-37 % of autistic individuals also can have OCD at the same time (vanSteensal, et., al 2011; Zabowski & Storch, 2018). For the purpose of this blog post, I will refer to autism in identity first language. It’s important to remember to

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Is OCD an Anxiety Disorder?

While historically OCD was considered a form of an anxiety disorder, because the intrusive thoughts trigger an anxious response, most recently in 2013 OCD has been classified as its own disorder by the American Psychological Association. Anxiety is one of the most common mental health conditions in the world. But there are several different types

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The Impact of OCD on Relationships

OCD can impact nearly every area of your life. Many people focus on how it affects your career or education. But, on a daily basis, you’ll have to deal with how it affects your relationships. From friends and family to romantic partners, OCD can play a major role in your thoughts and behaviors when it comes

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Is There a Link Between OCD and Autism Spectrum?

Aril is autism awareness and acceptance month. So in honor of this, and to highlight the neurodiversity-affirming and trauma-informed work we do at Spectrum Connections Therapy, we will share some more resources and blogs this month related to autism. At Spectrum Connections Therapy, we specialize in both Autism and OCD and this post will focus

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Important Considerations for OCD Treatment in Children

It’s estimated that about 1-2% of kids struggle with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), and OCD is notably the 4th most common psychiatric condition in the United States (www.iocdf.org). The most common onset age occurs in the late teen years, but OCD can impact younger children as well. While OCD can impact children slightly differently and range in

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OCD vs. ADHD: 3 Similarities & 3 Differences

Most people have a basic idea of what OCD and ADHD are. However, the two conditions may get confused, or the symptoms get misdiagnosed. It’s important to understand both the similarities and differences between OCD and ADHD, especially if you’re concerned that someone in your life might be dealing with one or the other. Educating

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You Can Break Free Of Unhealthy And Disruptive Patterns

If you struggle with intrusive, distressing thoughts and compulsive rituals, treatment at Spectrum Connections Therapy can help you manage the anxiety and stress associated with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.

Contact us to schedule a free, 20-minute consultation or to find out more about your treatment options for OCD.

Woman with OCD – Obsessive compulsive disorder concept. Placing paperclips in a straight line.
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