Visit Our Locations
Reno, NV

Give Us a Call
(775) 525 – 8103

Send Us a Message

Hours of Operations
Monday-Friday 8AM - 5PM

Understanding Obsessive Compulsive And Related Disorders

Uncontrollable Behaviors That Interfere With Everyday Functioning

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a mental condition that impacts individuals across various age groups and backgrounds. OCD may coexist with other conditions such as anxiety disorders, depression, eating disorders, or substance use disorders.

Although OCD leaves a detrimental impact on a person’s everyday life, OCD is highly treatable, and specialized support is available. 

The key to achieving the best outcome in OCD treatment lies in early identification and prompt intervention. In a study conducted by Maria C. Mancebo and her colleagues in 2014, initiating OCD treatment without delay leads to a faster onset of remission. 

Multiple sources also indicate that leaving OCD untreated for an extended period results in a myriad of negative consequences, especially if there are additional mental health conditions present. The longer OCD is untreated, the poorer the treatment-related clinical outcomes.  Reduced treatment response rates and  decreased chances of achieving remission are just a few of the possibilities when OCD is left untreated for extended periods of time.

Swift action must be taken in the treatment of OCD by caregivers in order to insure a child’s best chances for long term recovery. At Thrive we empower families to assist their child in conquering OCD and regaining their freedom to live life to its fullest.

The cause of OCD remains uncertain according to experts. However, it is believed that genetics, brain abnormalities, and environmental factors can contribute to its development. Typically, OCD emerges during the teenage years or early adulthood, although it can also begin during childhood. The disorder affects both men and women equally and exhibits a tendency to occur within families.

Signs and Symptoms to Look Out For

OCD arises when a person becomes trapped in a repetitive pattern of distressing thoughts and subsequent actions to neutralize the distress. These distressing thoughts, known as obsessions, are unwelcome and intrusive, triggering intense emotional discomfort. 

Compulsions are behaviors, rituals, or avoidance that individuals adopt in an attempt to alleviate the obsessions and reduce distress levels. Unfortunately the reduction in distress that compulsions offer an individual is non-existent or temporary at best. 

Research indicates that 94% of the general population experiences unwanted or intrusive thoughts and moments of uncontrollable behavior. However, in the context of OCD, these intrusive thoughts occur at a higher frequency, intensity, and duration and elicit intense distress that interferes with everyday functioning. 

For a diagnosis of OCD to be determined, the cycle of obsessions,  compulsions, and/or avoidance must reach a level of severity where it occupies a substantial amount of time, leads to intense distress, or interferes with everyday functionality, relationships, education, and/or employment.

Obsessions and Compulsions

Obsessions refer to irrational thoughts, fears, or worries that occur frequently and trigger significant anxiety. These obsessions are resistant to logical reasoning and attempts to control them. Some examples of common obsessions include:

Although these demonstrate examples of OCD obsessions, there are other existing thought fixations that also qualify as OCD: contamination obsessions, sexual obsessions, violent obsessions, moral obsessions, identity obsessions, or even perfectionism obsessions. 

Compulsions are repetitive behaviors performed with the intention of alleviating anxiety arising from obsessions. They serve as coping mechanisms to mitigate the distress caused by the obsessions.

Contrary to finding pleasure in these actions, people with OCD believe that these actions are necessary to avoid negative outcomes or to alleviate anxiety caused by obsessions. 

Individuals with OCD often possess an awareness regarding the irrational and excessive nature of their obsessions and compulsions on some level. Nevertheless, they experience a sense of powerlessness in controlling their obsessions or suppressing their compulsive behaviors.

Highly Effective, Evidence-Based Treatment

When it comes to treating OCD, there are two critical components of treatment: a specific type of Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) called Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP)  and medication. Camp Courage utilizes both ERP and  when necessary, medication management to assist clients in recovery. Research consistently demonstrates that when implemented correctly, ERP is effective in over 70% of cases of OCD among children and adolescents. It’s the gold standard psychotherapy for OCD and related disorders with the strongest evidence of treatment success.

It’s crucial to be aware of the most effective and evidence-based treatments for OCD and related disorders in order to ensure the best treatment outcomes. Not just any type of CBT is effective in the treatment of OCD – in fact – some types of CBT can have the opposite effect.  “Cognitive therapy” techniques and “thought-stopping,” can even worsen the condition. With an emphasis on reframing or blocking thoughts, cognitive based interventions often become new mental rituals and intensify struggles with compulsions. Approaches like Psychodynamic/Psychoanalytic therapy, and Interpersonal Psychotherapy may also be ineffective or even harmful to individuals with OCD. Working with a treatment team that is trained specifically in ERP is critical for effective OCD treatment. Treating a person struggling with OCD in a general mental health program can actually hinder their progress toward recovery. 

By harnessing the power of ERP, often in combination with medication, we can pave the way to recovery from OCD. By avoiding ineffective methods of OCD treatment and embracing therapies that have proven results, we are able to assist clients living with OCD and related disorders in reaching their best possible recovery outcomes.

Family Intensive Treatment

As a parent, it is your job to keep your child safe, offer comfort, and provide reassurance when they are afraid. It’s easy to assume that providing comfort, reassurance, and soothing irrational fears is the appropriate response to your child’s OCD or anxiety disorder. Parents often assume that continuing in the role of comforter will reduce a child’s distress and ultimately their suffering.

Unfortunately, when it comes to OCD the opposite is often true. Avoiding situations and scenarios where the child’s OCD and anxiety fears are triggered, offering reassurance, or allowing a child to engage in compulsions to avert conflict only worsens the condition and solidifies these life interrupting patterns of behavior. In avoiding scenarios that the child fears, offering reassurance, or  not interrupting compulsions, you as a parent are engaging in what’s called “accommodation” of the disorder.

In treatment, our clinicians will help you reduce family accommodation that worsens OCD. They will  help your child create a “fear hierarchy” together- where feared situations are labeled, rated on a scale of 0-10, and tackled one at a time. With the support of parents, through gradual exposure and blocking compulsions children learn that the feared outcomes of their OCD and anxiety usually do not come true, and that feelings of distress they once thought were intolerable become more tolerable.

The Courage to Recover

It takes courage to take the necessary steps towards recovery. Often adolescents and children need the loving boundaries and strong support of their caregivers to push them in the right direction. Without this, they often wouldn’t pursue recovery. Pursuing the appropriate treatment at the appropriate intensity as soon as possible for OCD is critical for long term recovery. Based on a large body of research, we know that the sooner a person engages in treatment after the onset of OCD, the more positive the long term outcome will be.   It’s vital to understand that recovery is more than possible with specialized treatment for OCD and related disorders. Recovery rates of 70% or greater occur for clients who receive ERP from a well trained clinician.

At Thrive, it is our priority to empower our clients and their families with the skills necessary to face OCD and related disorders. Thrive’s Child and Adolescent ERP based programs are thoughtfully designed to offer a nurturing and immersive treatment experience for those who are suffering, as well as their families and support systems. Our focus and priority is to provide patients and their support systems with the necessary tools and unwavering support to pave a path towards long-term recovery.

If you or someone you care about is experiencing severe anxiety or OCD symptoms and behaviors, please don’t hesitate to seek help. You don’t have to endure the pain and isolation of dealing with it alone. The sooner the treatment, the better the outcome. Thrive’s dedicated team of healthcare professionals offers an inclusive OCD treatment program led by Kat Geiger, LCSW, CEDS-S, PMH-C and Lynn Carver, LCSW.

Discover further details about our approach to recovery from OCD professionals

Our utmost dedication lies in supporting your child’s healing, personal development, and helping them thrive.

A Place to Grow

For more information about Thrive Wellness, please reach out. We’ll connect you with the care you need.