Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a long-lasting condition where a person has uncontrollable, recurring behaviors (compulsions) and thoughts (obsessions) that they feel the urge to repeat over and over. The disorder is often debilitating and can destroy the quality of a person’s life. In some cases, the rituals are so intense that a person will get stuck at home.
According to the Anxiety & Depression Association of America (ADAA), an estimated 2.2 million adults in the United States are struggling with OCD, which translates to one percent of the population. The average age of onset is around 19, with only 25 percent of cases occurring by the age of 14. An estimated one-third of adults first experience their symptoms in childhood.
Fortunately, OCD is a treatable disorder with therapy tailored to your specific needs. If you’re someone living in South Florida or you’re considering moving to the area, it’s important to learn about OCD treatment in South Florida and how it can help you learn to deal with the condition.
First, it’s essential to understand the symptoms of OCD. For some, an obsession to being clean might seem like they have the condition, but it’s often much worse than that. Let’s take a look below at the signs and symptoms of OCD.
Signs of OCD
Obsessive-compulsive disorder is characterized by several key symptoms. The first being obsessive thoughts, which are identified as thoughts that cannot be ignored or moved on from. They will start consuming the majority of a person’s focus when they occur.
For example, someone with OCD may feel as though they’ve failed to fully clean their hands when they’ve washed them. This nagging thought that their hands are dirty will bother them no matter how thoroughly they’ve washed their hands. These obsessive thoughts are often out of control and cause them to lose focus on other tasks.
The compulsive part of OCD is the actions a person takes to satisfy their obsessive thoughts. If you believe your hands aren’t clean, no matter how well you wash them, you may continue to wash them over and over again to satisfy this obsession. Compulsions are challenging to resist, and there will always be a deep nagging feeling that you have to give in to them.
OCD is the kind of condition you can’t rationalize away. Those experiencing obsessive thoughts and compulsive actions often know they don’t have to wash their hands multiple times, but the stress and anxiety will continue to persist if they don’t.
It’s also common for those with OCD to have rituals and specific ways of performing tasks to satisfy these obsessive thoughts. An aversion to germs is common, and many individuals with OCD are fearful of being contaminated by germs or contaminating others with germs. Other common signs of OCD include the following:
- Fear of losing control
- Intrusive violent thoughts
- Moral perfectionism or perfectionism
- Fear of losing resources
- Obsessively double-and-triple checking
- Spending excessive time cleaning
- Obsessively checking up on loved ones
- Ritualistic behavior
- Excessively rearranging
The fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) explains that individuals with OCD have compulsive actions and obsessive thoughts that last for at least an hour each day and take up the person’s time in that hour. It must also cause significant distress and interfere with their normal routine for it to be diagnosed as OCD.
Who Can Get OCD?
Unfortunately, anyone can develop the condition, and it’s not confined to sex, race, or age. However, OCD prevalence statistics show that the disorder slightly favors women in their 20s. With that said, a significant number of men and older people can also have OCD. Some specific risk factors include the following:
- Trauma: Traumatic life events like witnessing a horrific accident or getting into a terrible car accident can trigger various mental health problems, including obsessive-compulsive disorder.
- Family history: If OCD runs in your family, it could mean you’re more likely to get it, especially if it affects someone in the immediate family.
- Other mental health disorders: Issues like depression and anxiety are commonly seen alongside the condition. Disorders that also cause ritualistic behavior like eating disorders are also comorbid issues.
Why South Florida for OCD Treatment?
South Florida is widely regarded as one of the most desirable places in the world. For those looking to treat OCD or any other conditions, heading somewhere where the sun shines and the air is warm can help them break away from their daily routine and focus on the help they need. South Florida has many activities, and during treatment, a person can go to the beach, make new friends, and participate in activities they couldn’t have done staying at home.
South Florida is notorious for addiction treatment, and with the variety of high-quality treatment centers in the area, getting help for OCD is also possible. Treatment for most OCD patients will involve medication, Exposure and Response Prevention, or a combination of both. A majority of those with OCD will benefit from either ERP or medication.
The most effective treatment for OCD is cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and medication. More specifically, the most effective treatment is a type of CBT known as Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP), which boasts evidence supporting its use in the treatment of OCD, as well as medications known as serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SRIs).
ERP is typically done by a licensed mental health professional, such as a mental health counselor, social worker, or psychologist, meaning you’ll have to commit yourself to the treatment. If you’ve attempted an outpatient treatment program that wasn’t sufficient and you’re interested in a more intensive level of care, options are available to you.
- Intensive Outpatient: Individuals might attend one individual and group session per day several days a week.
- Partial Hospitalization: Similar to a day program, but clients will attend the treatment at a mental health hospital.
- Residential: Client’s are treated while voluntarily living in an unlocked mental health treatment center of the hospital. It could be for 30 to 90 days, depending on the severity of the condition and if they’re dealing with drug addiction. During this time, the client will be kept busy and learning how to live their lives and cope with their ritualistic behavior. For those struggling with severe OCD, living in a residential treatment program is the best option because it allows them the comfort of not dealing with stress on the outside and focusing on their recovery.
Fortunately, help is available to those who want it. If you’re struggling with OCD and considering help in South Florida, you’re only a message away from changing your life.