Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a serious and often debilitating disorder characterized by intrusive and recurring thoughts (or obsessions) and subsequent behaviors (or compulsions). A person with OCD may enter a thought-behavior loop or have everyday routines/rituals that are time-consuming and can interfere with work, school, or home life.
Symptoms of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
Symptoms of OCD include recurring thoughts, engaging in rituals, excessive, and repeating behaviors. A person with OCD may experience fear of contamination/dirt and may therefore engage in excessive cleaning/washing (especially of hands). Although a person might try to suppress or ignore their recurring thoughts, that oftentimes can lead to an increase in distress and anxiety. They feel driven to perform the compulsive behavior in order to alleviate the discomfort caused by the obsessions. OCD may also manifest in a person needing things to be orderly or symmetrical, having doubts about things like locking doors or turning off the stove, or even thoughts about losing control and acting inappropriately in public.
Diagnosis of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
Diagnosing OCD involves a combination of various assessments and observations, a review of medical records, as well as a collection of information from various sources, such as loved ones. A thorough psychological assessment can help us properly understand and diagnose OCD as it can affect each person differently. If the client is also experiencing changes in their cognitive abilities, we conduct a thorough neuropsychological evaluation to determine the causes of these difficulties. We also use a qEEG brain scan as a supplemental measure to examine the areas of the brain that are functionally out of balance. Understanding the underlying physiology helps us establish the factors contributing to the clinical and behavioral problems and design the most appropriate treatment. In addition, we conduct a whole-body diagnostic assessment that looks at a client’s nutrition and lifestyle habits, medications they are taking, as well as a thorough review of family and medical history, to explore all the factors that may be contributing to or exacerbating a client’s OCD. All of this information then allows us to understand each person’s unique presentation and enables us to create a truly personalized treatment plan.
Treatment of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
We use the results from our diagnostic process to design a comprehensive treatment plan unique to each individual to address the biological, psychological, social, and spiritual factors that will foster the client's recovery. An essential part of the treatment plan is neurofeedback, where we work directly on the brain using neuroplasticity to reorganize neural networks to facilitate healing. In addition, various evidence-based psychotherapy modalities are utilized in the treatment. For instance, we offer Virtual Reality Therapy (VRT). During VRT, clients navigate through digitally-created environments and complete tasks designed to serve as exposure therapy, which has strong evidence of effectiveness with OCD. We also integrate Cognitive Behavioral (CBT) techniques into the treatment plan to teach you the skills you need to complete the body and mind cycle and support your efforts toward achieving your goals. Family and group therapy are excellent treatment modalities during which we provide psychoeducation about the symptom presentations and increase knowledge and immediate support. In addition, our counselors support these interventions with mindfulness techniques to complete the body and mind cycle and support your efforts toward achieving your goals.
The treatment plan also includes sessions with our holistic health practitioner and exercise expert. They will educate you on how diets filled with processed foods and exposure to environmental toxins can contribute to increased symptoms and make recommendations for dietary and lifestyle changes as well as massage with essential oils performed by our massage therapist, which will achieve stress reduction, and improve mood and sleep. Finally, our treatment-informed meditation and yoga classes are a great way to promote a healthier lifestyle, enhance your treatment plan, maintain the gains you have achieved, and be a part of our small community where you can meet friends and find understanding and social support.
Our professional trained in prescription medication carefully evaluates the psychoactive medications utilized by the client. As a result, drugs that directly contribute to individuals' cognitive problems are gradually eliminated or significantly reduced. This approach also ensures a healthy brain and strong body and freedom from dependence on multiple drugs leading to debilitating side effects. At Nelmar Health Centers, we believe in the research showing that the healing and maintenance of well-being are best achieved with cognitive, behavioral, environmental, and lifestyle changes strengthened with ongoing social support.
While undergoing treatment, each client receives continued qEEg and psychological and cognitive testing to monitor progress and provide psychoeducation to ensure understanding of where they are in their healing at every step of the treatment process. We regularly modify the neurofeedback protocol and the overall treatment plan based on this information. Every change in the treatment plan is made after a thorough review by each multidisciplinary team member and approved by the client.
For clients that may need more rigorous treatment interventions, we also offer an Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) and a Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP).