Stressing about whether or not you locked the door on your way to work or turned off the stove after dinner are everyday worries that most people get past quickly.
However, if you can't stop thinking and worrying about those thoughts so much that they interrupt your life, they may be a sign of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
OCD is a mental health disorder characterized by intrusive thoughts that won't stop. Some people also have compulsions, actions they “have to” perform to help with the obsessions, further disrupting daily living.
Dr. Elizabeth Bullard, Dr. Allison Foroobar, and Dr. Sarah Gilbert are trained in treating OCD at their practice, Carolina Wellness Psychiatry.
If obsessive thoughts are plaguing your life and you can't seem to escape, our three highly trained doctors provide a customized treatment plan to get your life back on track.
What are obsessive thoughts?
Obsessive thoughts are one part of OCD; compulsions are the other. However, it's possible to have only obsessions, which are so persistent they lead to anxiety and distress even though the person knows the thoughts are unreasonable.
Most people have intrusive thoughts now and then but can go about their normal activities without stress. However, if you're struggling with obsessive thoughts, they often take over your life, jack up your stress levels, and interfere with everyday activities.
People suffer from various types of obsessive thoughts, some of which include the following:
- Intense need for symmetry or organization
- Fear of germs or contamination
- Significant doubt or uncertainty
- Scary thoughts about self-harm
- Horrific thoughts about harming others
- Aggressive feelings and thoughts
- Overwhelming sexual or religious thoughts
These thoughts often lead to noticeable symptoms of the theme, such as avoiding touching objects for fear of contamination or spending hours organizing everything to alleviate the intrusive thoughts. However, you don't have to have compulsions to struggle with OCD.
Seeking help for obsessive thoughts
Thoughts that continue to swirl in your mind aren't something to ignore. Seeking treatment for obsessive thoughts significantly reduces anxiety and improves your quality of life.
But when is it time to get professional help? The answer is different for everyone, and only you know when you can no longer handle the fear, depression, and anxiety intrusive thoughts cause.
However, one significant sign that you should get help is when obsessions have taken over your life. OCD rarely improves independently, and someone with the disorder can develop other issues like depression or general anxiety disorder without treatment.
The first step in getting help is making an appointment with our team. At your initial appointment, we evaluate your health, including discussing your obsessions.
We ask you essential questions about when the obsessions started and whether you have compulsions. After evaluating your specific needs, we offer various types of treatment.
Medications are one of the therapies we offer to control intrusive thoughts. Antidepressants, specifically those that work on serotonin, are the first line of treatment for OCD.
Along with medication, we may also suggest psychotherapy to help you understand your thoughts and behaviors. You'll also learn how to control these thoughts and learn coping techniques to help you overcome the obsessions.
Combining both treatments is often the best way to overcome obsessions, compulsions, or both.
If you're concerned about obsessive and intrusive thoughts, call the Carolina Wellness Psychiatry team today at 919-446-3232 to schedule a consultation. You may also send the team a message on the website.