The Community West treatment program for OCD and related disorders was developed with the understanding that OCD is a complex, multidimensional condition that looks different in every sufferer. As a result, treatment must be tailored to the specific features of each person’s disorder, the consequences they have on their lives, and the presence of co-occurring conditions that often accompany OCD.

OUR APPROACH

OCD is a debilitating condition that consists of irrational or excessive fears and concerns that become obsessive and manifest as intrusive, unwanted, disturbing thoughts, images or impulses. These obsessions are accompanied by repetitive and time-consuming mental and behavioral acts called rituals or compulsions that are done to prevent bad things associated with the obsessions from happening. Avoidance is the third component of OCD, which involves deliberately staying away from things, people and places that trigger or worsen obsessive fears and concerns, or to avoid the risk of some dreaded event.

At Community West we conduct a thorough assessment to determine the severity of a person’s OCD using the Yale-Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale. We then formulate a treatment plan using exposure and response prevention (ERP) as the main therapy for OCD. ERP is considered the gold standard treatment for OCD and has been shown by research to be the most effective treatment for the disorder. ERP works by helping people with OCD learn to tolerate the distress associated with their intrusive thoughts while refraining from engaging in the compulsions that are a part of their OCD.

 

Common Obsessions in OCD

  • Fear of getting sick or getting other people sick by coming in contact with germs that carry illness or disease
  • Fear of having an illness or a disease without knowing it
  • Fear of impulsively harming oneself or others
  • Fear of being responsible for harming others
  • Fear of being responsible for something bad happening
  • Fear of making mistakes or not doing things “just right”
  • Fear of losing or forgetting important things or information
  • Concerns about things being tidy, even, or exact
  • Fear of offending God or committing blasphemy
  • Excessive concerns with what’s morally right and wrong
  • Fear of being or becoming a pedophile despite evidence to the contrary
  • Obsessions about homosexuality and concerns that one might become gay
  • Obsessions about being or becoming sexually aggressive toward others
  • Superstitious fears about lucky/unlucky numbers

Common Compulsions in OCD

  • Excessive hand washing, showering, bathing, tooth brushing and grooming
  • Excessive cleaning or washing of household items or personal clothing
  • Checking that doors are locked, stove and other home appliances are turned off
  • Checking your body for signs of illness or disease
  • Checking that you did not make a mistake
  • Checking that you did not harm yourself or others
  • Repeating activities or actions until it “feels right”
  • Repeating activities or actions to achieve perfection, symmetry or exactness
  • Praying to prevent harm to others or oneself
  • Reviewing mentally past events to make sure no harm was done
  • Counting while doing routine activities in order to end them on a good, safe or right number
  • Trying to mentally erase or undo bad thoughts
  • Seeking reassurance from others

Anxiety Disorders

In addition, there is a group of anxiety disorders that respond to exposure and other CBT approaches that are effective for OCD and related disorders. At Community West we treat the following anxiety disorders with cognitive-behavioral interventions:

Social Anxiety Disorder
School Avoidance or Refusal
Panic Disorder
Specific Phobias
Agoraphobia
Separation Anxiety Disorder

Flavio Marenco, PhD is the director of the OCD & Anxiety Program.

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