What Is OCD?

By: Stuart Porter, NP


Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a chronic condition that is characterized by recurring thoughts, or obsessions, and behaviors, or compulsions. Sometimes, people use the term OCD to describe attributes like cleanliness and organization. In reality, OCD is a condition that can overtake someone’s life. In this blog, we will discuss what OCD is really like, including causes, signs and symptoms, and the best OCD treatment options .  

Signs of OCD 

People with OCD may have symptoms of compulsions or obsessions , or both. Obsessions are usually characterized as repeated thoughts, urges, or mental images that cause anxiety and are extremely difficult to control. Examples of obsessions are:   

  • Fear of germs   
  • Unwanted thoughts   
  • Aggressive thoughts towards others or one’s self  
  • Having things in perfect order  

Compulsions are repetitive behaviors that someone feels the urge to do in response to an obsession. Examples of compulsions include:   

  • Excessive cleaning or handwashing   
  • Ordering or arranging things in a certain way   
  • Repeatedly checking to make sure the oven is off, the door is locked, etc.   
  • Counting  

The obsessions and compulsions caused by OCD are often hard to control and can take over a person’s life, interfering with education, careers, relationships, and other aspects of life. Comedian Howie Mandel related an experience in which he missed an appointment because he couldn’t stop himself from walking back and forth from his car to the front door to make sure it was locked. He checked the lock over 30 times.  

Others with OCD have habits like picking at their skin, constantly checking to make sure they have their phone, keys, etc., and constantly worrying about others’ problems. Many people with OCD have a hard time in relationships because their symptoms can make even little things like physical touch really difficult.  

OCD Treatment Options  

OCD is considered a treatment-resistant condition. Some patients have success with a combination of antidepressants and professional counseling, but many don’t find significant relief from their symptoms. Up until recently, medication and counseling were the only options for people with OCD.  

However, in 2018, BrainsWay’s OCD TMS helmet was approved by the FDA to treat obsessive-compulsive disorder. Transcranial magnetic stimulation , or TMS, is a treatment that, for the past decade, has been an FDA-approved treatment for depression.  

Now it is also an approved treatment for OCD, and patients are seeing promising results. BrainsWay’s studies show that 38.1% of patients had a significant response to the treatment, and even more patients responded at least partially to TMS treatment.  

If you would like to learn more about TMS and how it could help with your OCD symptoms or those of a loved one, contact us at Serenity Mental Health Centers to schedule an evaluation  with a doctor for OCD.  

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*All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.