Mental Health

OCD – Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a mental health disorder that is defined by unwanted and seemingly uncontrollable obsessions and compulsions. About 1% of adults and 0.5% of adolescence are diagnosed with OCD and can occur at any age but typically between the ages between 8 and early adulthood.

The root causes of OCD have yet to be determined, but research has shown that imbalanced levels of neurotransmitters called serotonin may be the cause. Medication that specifically address serotonin levels combined with Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP), a form of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), are recommended. 70% of cases that have used either medication, therapy, or both have shown results.

Obsessions cause stress and anxiety and are triggered by unwanted urges, thoughts, feeling, often recurring. Usually those with OCD realize that these symptoms are irrational and so undergo feelings of guilt, disgust, fear or confusion and try to “fix” themselves. If these reactions are unharmful it is most likely that they simply have an obsessive personality trait, but when these reactions become a hinderance onto everyday life and personal values, then it can be labeled as OCD. Some obsessions include cleanliness, sexual thoughts, losing control, religious obsession, perfectionism, and the fear of harm.

Compulsions are attempts to stop, neutralize, or forget obsessions. They are repeated with either thoughts or actions. They do not address the problems of obsession and are a coping mechanism and temporary solution. Just like obsessive thoughts or feelings, those who suffer from OCD usually would not like to continue their compulsive behavior and are actively aware that compulsions are negatively affecting their lives. Common compulsions include excessive washing, cleaning, checking and repeating.

ERP is effective because it directly exposes the diagnosed with triggers that create obsessive behavior in a controlled environment. They are taught how not to let their compulsions control them and over time should be able to control themselves apart from the guidance of a therapist. It is important to note that this treatment isn’t for everyone, and traditional psychotherapy may be the solution.

Water Gap Wellness offers expert treatment for individuals coping with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. We offer an on-site Psychiatrist daily, 2 private sessions weekly with seasoned masters-level counselors, group sessions daily and experiential therapy conducted by a NOLS-certified guide. Individuals with OCD can find help at Water Gap Wellness. Call 1-833-WGW-HOPE for more information or email

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