Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a type of anxiety disorder in which people have extreme, irrational and repetitive thoughts, fears and sensations that seem out of their control (obsessions) that then lead to unwanted, repetitive behaviors (compulsions) that serve to counteract the obsessions.
What is Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder?
Obsessive thoughts and fears tend to be excessive enough to create considerable emotional and mental distress in the individual, which drives the compulsive behaviors, which are an attempt to quiet the obsessions or alleviate distress. However, engaging in the compulsive behaviors typically only provide temporary relief, if any relief at all, and tend to be so excessive so as to interfere with daily living. While there are various types of obsessions and compulsions, some of the more common include obsessional fears about being contaminated by germs or illness, which can lead to compulsive behaviors such as excessive hand washing or use of antibacterial gel; obsessional thoughts of being harmed, which can lead to compulsively checking that doors are locked or that lights are left on; obsessions about being perfect, which can lead to compulsive organizing and cleaning.
The fears and resultant compensatory behaviors of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder go far beyond the natural concerns most people have about staying well, safe and doing a good job. The anxiety created by the obsessional fears is extreme, intense and debilitating. Efforts to engage in behaviors to quell the anxiety of the obsessions can also be debilitating and create additional stress and problems for the individual.
For example, a person who obsesses about getting sick from germs might wash their hands to such excess that their skin becomes raw and prone to scarring and infection. Or, they may avoid all public places out of fear of touching doorknobs or other people, leading to an isolative and lonely life. Typically with OCD, the person knows that their obsessions and compulsions are unreasonable and excessive; however they aren’t able to control the obsessions or manage the impulses to engage in the compulsions. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder is a serious mental illness that causes marked distress and obstructs many aspects of adult daily living.
How BrightQuest treats Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
It has been long established that Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Exposure Response Prevention (ERP) and plenty of social support are critical in the treatment of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. Within the supportive framework of an established therapeutic milieu, BrightQuest incorporates a strong CBT approach into the treatment of program participants withObsessive-Compulsive Disorder as well as creating individualized, personal treatment plan elements that integrate specific ERP strategies. The structured therapeutic milieu allows for the opportunity for program members to learn much needed anxiety and impulse control skills while simultaneously learning how to build a solid network or of reliable social supports.
Because loneliness and isolation are so common in this encumbering disorder, BrightQuest’s focus on socialization and peer support is vital. It is also fairly common for family members to have unknowingly helped the person with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder become entrenched in compulsive behaviors as a way to avoid experiencing anxiety. An important element of treatment at BrightQuest also involves working with family members to help gain a better understanding of the disorder as well as learn more effective ways to support their loved one.