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Obsessive Compulsive Disorders (OCD)

OCD is characterized by the presence of obsessions that elicit intense anxiety or discomfort. In response to these distressing thoughts, individuals engage in ritualistic behaviors, or compulsions, as a means of alleviating the anxiety or preventing a feared event.

What is Obsessive Compulsive Disorders (OCD)?

OCD is characterized by the presence of obsessions that elicit intense anxiety or discomfort. In response to these distressing thoughts, individuals engage in ritualistic behaviors, or compulsions, as a means of alleviating the anxiety or preventing a feared event. The interplay between obsessions and compulsions creates a cycle that can significantly impair daily functioning and the quality of life.

Obsessions are defined as unwanted and intrusive thoughts or images that repeatedly enter an individual’s mind. These thoughts can be distressing and provoke significant anxiety and discomfort. Common themes include fears of contamination, concerns about harm to oneself or others, a need for symmetry or precision, and intrusive religious or moral thoughts.

Compulsions, on the other hand, are repetitive behaviors or mental rituals that individuals feel compelled to perform in response to their obsessions. The purpose of these compulsions is often to prevent a feared event or to reduce the anxiety associated with the obsessions. Examples include washing, checking, counting, or repeating certain actions.

OCD can have a profound impact on various aspects of a person’s life. The time and energy spent on daily rituals may interfere with work, school, relationships, and overall functioning. Individuals with OCD often experience difficulty concentrating and may feel exhausted due to the mental energy consumed by their obsessions and compulsions.

Some common forms of OCD include:

Treatment for Obsessive Compulsive Disorders (OCD)

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is considered the gold standard treatment for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). At Light On Anxiety, our specialized therapists are trained to provide compassionate and effective care for individuals struggling with OCD.

Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) is a key component of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for OCD and involves systematically exposing individuals to situations or stimuli that trigger their obsessions while refraining from engaging in compulsive behaviors or rituals.

Through ERP, individuals learn to confront their fears directly and gradually build tolerance to the anxiety provoked by their obsessions. For example, someone with contamination fears might expose themselves to dirt or germs without immediately washing their hands.

Over time, exposure to feared situations without engaging in rituals helps to weaken the connection between obsessions and compulsions, leading to a reduction in anxiety and the frequency and intensity of OCD symptoms. ERP empowers individuals to face their fears, develop healthier coping mechanisms, and reclaim control over their lives from OCD.

With evidence-based therapy and personalized support, we empower individuals with OCD to regain control over their lives, reduce their symptoms, and experience greater freedom and peace of mind.


Medication can be a helpful adjunct to therapy in the treatment of OCD, particularly for individuals with moderate to severe symptoms or those who do not fully respond to therapy alone.  At Light On Anxiety, our team of psychiatric providers collaborates closely with clients to assess their unique needs and develop personalized medication regimens.

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) are commonly prescribed to target symptoms of anxiety and depression that often co-occur with OCD. Other medications, such as certain antidepressants, may also be used in certain cases to address specific symptoms or provide additional support.

Our approach to medication management prioritizes safety, efficacy, and collaboration with clients to ensure they receive the most appropriate treatment for their symptoms while minimizing side effects.

Integrating CBT + Medication

At Light On Anxiety, we offer integrated treatment plans that combine evidence-based therapy with medication management to address both the psychological and physiological aspects of OCD.

Our therapists and psychiatric providers work closely together to tailor treatment plans to each individual’s needs and preferences.

  • Therapy helps individuals develop coping skills, challenge negative thoughts, and engage in exposure exercises through ERP.
  • Medication can provide additional support by reducing symptoms of anxiety and depression and enhancing the effectiveness of therapy.

Through this combined approach, we empower individuals with OCD to overcome their symptoms, reclaim their lives, and achieve greater emotional well-being and life satisfaction.

Your Unique Path to Freedom From OCD 

Our goal is to create a treatment plan that aligns with your needs and preferences, recognizing that each individual’s journey is unique.

What are the symptoms of Obsessive Compulsive Disorders (OCD)?

The symptoms of OCD significantly impact various aspects of an individual’s life, and include:

Intrusive and unwanted thoughts that are distressing and irrational are a common symptom of people with OCD. Common obsessions include fears of causing harm to oneself or others, fears of contamination, or worries about things being out of order.
Individuals may engage in excessive cleaning or hand washing rituals, driven by the fear of contamination, ensuring doors are locked or appliances are turned off, and counting or repeating rituals to neutralize intrusive thoughts or prevent a feared event.
People dealing with OCD frequently encounter distorted thinking patterns, like catastrophizing or an exaggerated sense of responsibility. The fixation on obsessions can impede their ability to focus on routine activities, creating challenges in performing daily tasks.

Intense anxiety or distress is triggered by obsessions, leading to the performance of compulsions for relief. The ongoing presence of obsessions and the necessity for compulsions can give rise to feelings of guilt and shame.

OCD can significantly interfere with occupational and social functioning, as individuals may spend a considerable amount of time on compulsive rituals or avoiding triggers.

Individuals with OCD may go to great lengths to avoid situations, places, or objects that trigger their obsessions, further limiting their quality of life.

FAQs about Obsessive Compulsive Disorders (OCD)

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) involves intrusive, distressing thoughts (obsessions) and repetitive behaviors or mental acts (compulsions). Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) entails excessive, persistent worry about various life aspects. While both involve anxiety, OCD is more specific to intrusive thoughts and rituals, while GAD is characterized by pervasive, generalized worry. Effective treatments for each can include therapy, medication, or a combination based on individual needs.

Yes, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) causes significant anxiety. Individuals experience distressing obsessions, leading to compulsive behaviors performed to alleviate anxiety. The cycle of intrusive thoughts and rituals contributes to heightened anxiety levels, impacting daily life and functioning. Treatment often involves therapy, medication, or a combination to manage these symptoms.
OCD itself does not typically cause paranoia. However, individuals with OCD may experience intrusive, distressing thoughts that could trigger anxiety. If untreated, severe anxiety might contribute to heightened stress or irrational fears, but this is distinct from clinical paranoia, which is more commonly associated with conditions like schizophrenia.
While there's no guaranteed cure for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), effective treatments, including therapy and medications, can significantly reduce symptoms and improve quality of life. Many individuals experience substantial relief with proper care. Ongoing support and management strategies play key roles in successfully living with OCD.

More About Treatment for Anxiety

What is CBT & ERP for OCD?

Light On Anxiety CEO Dr Debra Kissen describes how CBT & ERP helps clients move past OCD and other anxiety disorders.

Learn more about how we can create a custom individual treatment plan to fit your goals.

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