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What is OCD?

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is a mental health disorder that affects people of all ages and walks of life. People with OCD get caught in a vicious cycle of obsessions (unwanted thoughts and doubts) and compulsions (ritualistic, repetitive behaviors). This cycle causes marked distress and disrupts the individuals ability to function effectively in day-to-day life. 

What causes OCD?

While, we still do not know the exact cause or causes of OCD, research suggests that differences in the brain and genes of those affected may play a role. Research suggests that OCD involves problems in communication between the front part and deeper structures of the brain, and also unbalanced neurotransmitters (basically, a chemical messenger) such as serotonin. Pictures of the brain at work show that in some people the brain circuits involved in OCD become more normal after treatment. 

What are the most effective treatments for OCD?

The most effective treatments for OCD are Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, more specific a type of CBT, called Exposure Response Prevention (ERP). Additionally, promising research is showing Inference Based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (I-CBT), and Acceptance Commitment Therapy (ACT) are also helpful for OCD.

How is OCD Diagnosed?

Only trained therapists can diagnose OCD. 

Therapists will look for three things:

The person has obsessions. He or she engages in compulsive behaviors.The obsessions and compulsions take a lot of time and get in the way of important activities the person values, such as working, going to school, or spending time with friends.