What is Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)?

What is Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)?

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder is a debilitating condition that is suffered by millions. OCD is a common, chronic, and long-lasting disorder in which a person has uncontrollable, reoccurring thoughts (obsessions) and/or behaviors (compulsions) that they feel the urge to repeat over and over. Keep reading to learn more about Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, the signs and symptoms, how it is diagnosed, and how it is treated.

Signs and Symptoms of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Obsessions and compulsions are two different actions and processes. When an individual is suffering from both in the case of OCD, it can interfere with many areas of life. Work, school, relationships, and more are all affected.

Signs and symptoms of obsessions include:

  • Fear of germs or contamination
  • Unwanted forbidden thoughts involving sex, religion, or harm
  • Aggressive thoughts towards others or self
  • Needing to have things symmetrical or in a perfect order

Some of the most common signs and symptoms of compulsion include:

  • Excessive cleaning
  • Washing hands excessively
  • Ordering and rearranging things in a very particular way
  • Repeatedly checking things, such as if the door is locked
  • Compulsive counting

How is Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Diagnosed?

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder is a wide-ranging condition. Everyone who suffers from it is different. Obsessions may vary in a range of degrees, and compulsions may as well. However, OCD might be diagnosed in an individual if their obsession and compulsion symptoms take more than an hour of their time each and every day. In addition, OCD may be diagnosed if the individual can’t control their thoughts or behaviors, even when those thoughts or behaviors are recognized as excessive, doesn’t get pleasure when performing the behaviors or rituals, and, most importantly, experiences significant problems in their daily life due to these thoughts or behaviors.

In addition, the NICE Guidelines for OCD state the following:

  • The patient must acknowledge that the obsessional thoughts, impulses, or images are a product of their mind and are not imposed by an outside person or influence.
  • At least one obsession or compulsion must be acknowledged as excessive or unreasonable.
  • Furthermore, the obsessions or compulsions must cause marked distress or significantly interfere with the patient’s occupational and/or social functioning, usually by wasting time.
  • Traditionally, insight (the ability to recognize the senselessness of the obsessions) is a key feature of OCD. However, there is growing recognition that the level of insight is highly variable. Thus some people with OCD may show stable but low levels of insight; others may show insight when not confronted with a feared situation but lose this insight when their anxiety is high in situations associated with their obsessive fears.

How Is Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Treated?

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder is most commonly treated with medication, psychotherapy, or a combination of both. Most people who suffer from OCD also suffer from a co-occurring disorder such as anxiety or depression, which needs to be treated at a mental health treatment facility simultaneously.


Serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SRIs) and antipsychotic medication may be prescribed to treat OCD. SRIs are generally prescribed first and, if the patient does not respond to them, antipsychotic medication will be prescribed next. SRIs include selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and are used to help reduce OCD symptoms. Individuals may run the risk of addiction when taking medication, and it should be done under the careful supervision of their doctor.


There are two types of psychotherapy to help treat Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. They include:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Anxiety is at the core of OCD. Intrusive thoughts will cause obsessions and compulsions. Through the help of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and mental health treatment, the individual will be able to control better and understand their anxiety, which treats their OCD at the ground level.
  • Exposure and Response Prevention. This type of therapy exposes the individual to their obsession while being prevented from performing their compulsion. A typical example of this is touching something very dirty and being prevented from obsessively washing their hands. This shows the individual how to overcome anxiety in a triggering situation and work through their thoughts and emotions in real-time.

About Seasons Malibu

A sad reality for millions of people who suffer from OCD or any other mental health condition is that they run a higher risk for addiction. Whether they are addicted to drugs or alcohol to self-medicate their symptoms, become addicted to the medication prescribed to treat their mental health conditions, or use substances to escape their intrusive thoughts, addiction can lead to overdose or death.

If you’ve found that your mental health issues are beyond your control, we can help. The medical, psychiatric, and psychotherapy staff members at Seasons In Malibu are among the best in their fields—many of whom have been called upon to provide their expert opinions and insights by the national media and academic publications.

Seasons in Malibu offers a world-class mental health rehab program designed to address your specific disorder and restore you back to your best self. To comfort you during your healing from Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, we offer discreet, luxurious accommodations. For your added comfort and luxury, private quarters are available as well as relaxing holistic therapies such as surfing and yoga. During your stay, you can also look forward to gourmet cuisine prepared daily by our on-staff chefs, laundry service, resort-like amenities, and much more.

If you’re ready to start your journey to long-lasting recovery from OCD, mental health conditions, or addiction, we are here for you.