Archived Articles on OCD Treatment & Research

Harming Obsessions: Symptoms and Treatment

Harm OCD is a manifestation of OCD in which an individual experiences intrusive, unwanted, distressing thoughts of causing harm. These thoughts are inconsistent with the individual’s values, beliefs and sense of self. Harming obsessions typically center around the belief that one must be absolutely certain that they are in control at all times in order to ensure that they are not responsible for a violent or otherwise fatal act. read more »

My Journey Through Hell and Back - A story of my battle with OCD

By Jason McClary "If you have OCD remember that it is nothing to be ashamed of. This disease doesn’t reflect who you are; it is just a disease. Don’t be afraid to get help." It all started one brisk fall day in September of 1989. I was 12 years old. It was the end of class and I couldn’t get my locker to open up. All of the other students had gone on to their other classes and I was left alone trying to get my locker to open. read more »

Personal Stories : My Battle with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

by Lizzy S. I hope my story gives others hope as you can live a completely happy and fulfilling life even with OCD. My battle with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder started out like so many others. The earliest symptoms I can remember appeared around age 8. I had started to develop a prayer routine at night which, in my OCD mind, I believed would keep my loved ones safe. read more »

Is OCD Really on the Rise?

OCD is not a new disorder and it's not suddenly increasing.  But years ago, much less was known about it than is known today.  There were no consumer books written about OCD until the late 1980s.  Until relatively recently, information was not readily available on the Internet.  And just decades ago, research on OCD was virtually nonexistent. read more »

The Search for Imperfection: Strategies for Coping with the Need to be Perfect

By Andrew M. Jacobs, Psy.D. & Martin M. Antony, Ph.D., ABPP While perfectionism is a trait found in various forms both in the general public and across anxiety disorders (Antony, Purdon, Huta, & Swinson, 1998), it often holds a particularly focal place in the experiences of individuals with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).  Theory and research regarding the role of perfectionism in OCD suggest that at its core, perfectionistic thinking and behavior in OCD stem from an ongoing effort to avoid the discomfort that results from a sense of uncertainty, danger, judgment from others, or imprecision. read more »

Jesse’s Really Bad Thoughts: A Teen With Morbid Obsessions

By Fred Penzel, Ph.D. Recently, I was sitting in session with a patient, Jesse, a sixteen year-old boy who had started seeing me only three weeks before for a problem with thoughts that he said were very unpleasant.  So far, we hadn't gotten very far, as he still couldn't seem to tell me anything about them yet.  He sat there nervously, playing with his sneaker laces and looking at the floor. read more »

Sudden and Severe Onset OCD - Practical Advice for Practitioners and Parents

By Michael Jenike, M.D. and Susan Dailey, mom and advocate (compiled) Many thanks to the contributing clinicians and researchers, who answered our questions with great patience, and whose love for these children is not always listed on their CV, but is always their most obvious qualification: Dan Geller, MD, Tanya Murphy, MD, Eric Storch, PhD, Kyle Williams, MD, Jim Leckman, MD, Madeleine Cunningham, MD, Karen Newell, PhD, and Sue Swedo, MD. read more »

Magical Numbers and OCD - Your Number Is Up!

By Fred Penzel, Ph.D. Within limits, a certain amount of superstitious thinking can be a harmless part of normal life.  The popularity of horoscopes, tarot card readings, good luck charms, and psychics in our own society bears witness to this.  However, even in primitive societies where magic controls people's actions and decisions on an everyday basis, it is integrated into everyday life, regarded as a tool, and does not paralyze its users. read more »

Emetophobia the Phobia of Vomiting - Does it Relate to OCD?

By Dr. Steve Seay Flu season will be quickly upon us and with it comes an unfortunate increase in the likelihood of experiencing fevers, coughs, runny noses, vomiting, and the like. Although no one enjoys being sick, this time of year poses particular challenges for individuals suffering from “vomit phobia”, or emetophobia , the fear of throwing up. read more »

Very Superstitious - How it does or doesn't Relate to OCD

By Fred Penzel, Ph.D. Together with morbid obsessions, magical and superstitious thinking makes up one of the stranger and more misunderstood aspects of OCD. When my patients try to describe their symptoms, they preface their explanation with, "I know this sounds crazy, but...." The presence of magical thinking is probably the main reason why many with OCD have been misdiagnosed over the years as schizophrenic. read more »

Pure 'O' - Fact or Fiction?

By Bradley C. Riemann, Ph.D. - Director, OCD Center at Rogers Memorial Hospital Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is diagnostically classified as an anxiety disorder due to its hallmark feature of intense periods of anxiety.  The diagnostic criterion for OCD states that an individual needs to experience either obsessions or compulsions to have OCD (American Psychiatric Association). read more »

What Happened to My Child? How To Manage and Overcome Bad Thought OCD

By Lynne Siqueland, Ph.D. - Children's Center for OCD and Anxiety What is a parent to do?  What is a parent to think when out of the blue their child comes to tell you I think I touched your private parts, I just made a deal with the devil, or most scary, I think I want to kill myself?  Many people know something about OCD, they might think about handwashing, checking, or counting, but there is another aspect of OCD that is not often talked about or even understood by the public. read more »

A Touching Story About OCD

By Fred Penzel, Ph.D. OCD encompasses many different groups of symptoms. One of the less well-known is touching and movement compulsions. Those whose disorder includes these symptoms can be seen to do one or more of the following: Look or glance at something in a special way Move in symmetrical or special ways Having to step in special ways or on special spots when walking Move in special ways while carrying out certain activities Reverse movements one has just made Repeat certain activities (e. read more »

What Should you do if Your Friend Refuses OCD Treatment?

In some cases, OCD sufferers refuse to seek treatment for OCD, even though it’s having an adverse effect not only on themselves but also on friends and family members.  Some people with OCD downplay their symptoms or refuse to acknowledge that a problem exists.  They may do very little to find help or even to learn about OCD. read more »

How Clean is Clean? - OCD at Large

By Fred Penzel, Ph.D. Recently, a couple came to see me at my practice. They were both in their early 40s, professionals, nicely dressed. The husband began our session by saying: "Doctor, have you ever seen anyone scrub a ceiling, or polish a towel bar? I can't live like this any more. She's driving me and the children crazy with her cleaning. read more »

How Brad Overcame Compulsive Checking

By Paul R. Munford, Ph.D., Cognitive Behavior Therapy Center for OCD and Anxiety People with checking compulsions share an exaggerated fear of uncertainty that makes them doubt their abilities to perform ordinary tasks of daily living correctly or avoid making social blunders. Being unsure of themselves, they're constantly beset by thoughts and feelings of being irresponsible, careless, and seriously messing up that cause disasters that incite blame and scorn from others. read more »

Families of OCD Sufferers Seldom Get The Help They Need: Why They Don’t and Why They Should

By Heidi J. Pollard, RN, MSN and C. Alec Pollard, Ph.D. 12-year-old Jill is late for a family gathering and getting more frustrated by the minute. She and her parents have been waiting in the car for half an hour while her brother checks every corner of his room to be certain nothing has been lost. She wonders, “Why does the whole family have to suffer because of him? read more »

When People Become Obsessed With Other People

By Fred Penzel, Ph.D. I recently visited my local library searching for current articles on OCD that might be of interest to my support group. The periodicals file is computerized so I conducted a search of articles on Obsessions, Compulsions and both together. I suppose a system is only as good as the knowledge of the person who programs and updates it. read more »

Behind the Relationship Troubles in Managing OCD

Fears about the future together are normal. Facing your fears together is healthy. (Note: The use of the term “spouse” in the article below is intended to include any two individuals in a relationship.) Getting effective treatment for your spouse should be your first priority, because that’s the first step toward recovery from OCD. read more »

Hypochondriasis: What is it and How do you treat it?

By Jonathan S. Abramowitz, Ph.D. Donna can’t fall asleep. As she lies in bed, she can’t take her mind off the fear that she has a brain tumor.  Even though her doctors reassure her that everything is fine, she can’t get past the fact that from time to time, it feels like there is something not quite right in her head. read more »

A Spouse’s Pivotal Role in Helping with OCD

(Note: The use of the term “spouse” in the article below is meant to include any two individuals who are in a relationship.) Being the spouse of an individual who is struggling with OCD can be extremely difficult, for so many different reasons.  Perhaps you’ve had to take on what feels like more than your fair share of household responsibilities. read more »

Your Child Can Get Better With Effective Treatment

The benefits of OCD treatment are so great that exploring financial options to pay for it is worth the effort.  OCD rarely goes away by itself, and usually grows stronger without treatment. Money concerns can certainly present challenges to getting OCD treatment.  If financial difficulties are keeping you from seeking help to overcome your child’s OCD, it may be  possible to find a method to reduce or finance the costs of treatment. read more »

Roadmap to Recovery: Families of Adult OCD Sufferers Living at Home

By John Hart and Thröstur Björguinsson Because of the debilitating nature of OCD, many adult OCD sufferers find themselves living at home with parents or other family members. Since OCD sufferers are often unable to work, it can be financially impractical to live independently. A retrospective study of the adult patients admitted over a 7-month period in 2007 at the Menninger Clinic OCD Treatment Program confirms many of these difficulties (Björgvinsson, Heffelfinger, Wetterneck, & Hart, 2007, March). read more »

Finding the Right OCD Therapist for your Child

Because the quality of care your child receives is so important in his or her recovery, it’s important to find the right therapist to work with – specifically, one who is trained in conducting Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) with children or teens. If your pediatrician refers you to a psychiatrist, keep in mind that psychiatrists usually prescribe medication. read more »

OCD Medication Information

Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) has been shown to have many benefits over medication alone in treating OCD in children and adolescents.  It tends to be faster-acting and more cost-effective over time, and it doesn’t involve the risk of side effects.  Furthermore, studies have consistently shown that the positive gains associated with CBT are longer-lasting than those of medication; relapse rates are lower when CBT is discontinued than when medication is stopped. read more »

How OCD is Diagnosed in Children?

When a mental health professional evaluates your child, the exact approach used will vary from one individual to another.  A full evaluation by a psychologist or psychiatrist includes many components.  Ideally, a thorough psychiatric, developmental, and medical history should be performed to make an accurate diagnosis of OCD as well as any other disorders that may co-exist with OCD (e. read more »

Cognitive Behavior Therapy : Helping a Child who has OCD

In order to help your child, it’s very important that you be aware of a special kind of therapy called Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) – the treatment of choice for all forms of OCD.  CBT makes use of two evidence-based techniques: Exposure and Response Prevention therapy (ERP) and Cognitive Therapy (CT).   Exposure and response prevention involves controlled, gradual exposures to the situations that trigger a person’s obsessions and compulsions. read more »

How To Manage Your Parents When You Have OCD: A Guide for Teens

By Fred Penzel, Ph.D. Having OCD definitely sucks!  As if there isn't enough to deal with in life.  Getting well is hard work too.  All this would be enough on your plate, if it weren't for further problems that can come up when some people's families get involved in their OCD too.  Sure, they mean well, and they think they are helping, but a lot of times they don't do the right thing because they just don't really understand what it's like. read more »

Being Proactive in Help your Child

If ever there were a time to be proactive, it’s when your child exhibits behavior that may be symptomatic of OCD.  If you think your child may have OCD – or you’re not sure if the behavior is OCD, some other mental disorder or “normal” (but frustrating) developmental behavior – don’t wait.  Here are some steps you can take to get started and, if your child or teen is diagnosed with OCD, how you can make the most of treatment: Talk with your child’s doctor. read more »

Parents Role In Treatment of a Child's OCD

Parents Role In Treatment Parents can influence their children’s behavior in many ways.  That’s why it’s urgent that you help your child or teen seek out and participate in Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT).  You have the power to help –  or hinder – your child’s progress toward getting relief from OCD. read more »

OCD At School - Helping a Child

OCD At School Teachers and other school personnel may be powerful allies in identifying, assessing and treating  OCD.  Because they interact with students for extended periods of time during the school year, they are uniquely positioned to observe behavior that deviates from the norm.  School personnel, therefore, may play a critical role in helping identify behavior that is symptomatic of OCD. read more »

Symptoms in Teens - What Other Symptoms Might Be OCD?

OCD symptoms can be as varied as the people who have them.  But there are some “warning signs” that can indicate OCD or another disorder.  Remember, OCD and other disorders ARE treatable.  Noticing what’s wrong is a step in the right direction toward getting better. Could any of these situations describe your situation? read more »

Symptoms in Teens - What’s A Normal Worry and What’s Not?

Everybody worries at times.  It’s normal to worry about things like school, how you look, what you said or did in a certain situation, how your parents will react to something you did or what the future will bring.  That’s part of being a human being – especially, a teen.  But OCD takes worries and doubts to the extreme. read more »

What the Heck is OCD?

What the Heck is OCD? With OCD, “communication errors” occur when information is transmitted between different parts of the brain.  Certain chemicals that help transmit messages in the brain aren’t working like they’re supposed to.  This causes unwanted, disturbing thoughts, fears or worries, including thoughts that can be the opposite of what you really believe about things like religion, violence or sex. read more »

Beyond OCD : Just For Teens Section

Just For Teens To the Point: You Have OCD.  Now What? Having Obsessive Compulsive Disorder isn’t the end of the world.  Obviously, you’d rather not have it.  But just like other medical conditions such as diabetes and asthma, there is a treatment for OCD.  You will be able to live with OCD and manage its symptoms. read more »

How To Get Hoarders Into Treatment

How To Get Hoarders Into Treatment By Fugen Neziroglu, Ph.D., ABBP & Katharine Donnelly, M.A. - Bio-Behavioral Institute, Great Neck, NY 11021 While compulsive hoarding may be observed in individuals with or without Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), compulsive hoarding is typically conceptualized on the OCD spectrum.  However, unique clinical obstacles interfere with treatment attendance, compliance, and disclosure of hoarding symptoms, distinguishing hoarding among other obsessive-compulsive symptoms. read more »

When Automatic Bodily Processes Become Conscious: How to Disengage from Sensorimotor Obsessions

When Automatic Bodily Processes Become Conscious: How to Disengage from Sensorimotor Obsessions By David J. Keuler, Ph.D., The Behavior Therapy Center of Greater Washington The literature on obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) routinely includes detailed accounts of washing, checking, repeating, and undoing behaviors associated with fears of harm to oneself or others. read more »

What Doesn’t Cause OCD in Children

Children who have OCD didn’t do something to cause it.  And it’s important to know that parents don’t cause a child’s OCD, either.  It isn’t caused by the way parents talk with their children or don’t talk with them.  It’s not caused by how children are disciplined or not disciplined or how they were toilet-trained. read more »

Causes Of OCD In Children

Causes Of OCD In Children Parents don’t cause OCD in their children by some flaw in their parenting abilities. OCD isn’t caused by how you talk with your kids or don’t talk with them, or how you discipline them.  And it doesn’t matter whether or not both parents work, there is a stay-at-home Mom or Dad, the parents are divorced or a parent remarries after divorce. read more »

When Someone You Love Has OCD

When Someone You Love Has OCD Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) affects millions of people in the U.S. If one of those people is someone you love, you know that the impact of OCD reaches far beyond the person who has been diagnosed with this disorder. Much has been written about OCD and its treatment. Much less has been written about the spouses, families and friends who must watch a loved one suffer, and who must also live with the effects of the disorder every day. read more »

Managing Emotions & Attitudes

It’s important to realize that when a family member has OCD, everyone in the family experiences emotional ups and downs.  One day, you may feel as if your loved one is making great strides in the fight against OCD; the next day, it may seem that he or she isn’t even trying.  If your loved one is taking medication, he or she may also experience some unpleasant side effects initially. read more »

OCD Information for Individuals

OCD Information for Individuals If you’re looking for information about OCD, you’ve come to the right place. Learning about OCD is the first step in overcoming this potentially heartbreaking disorder. If you or someone you love suffers from OCD, you’re not alone.  Millions of people have it.  OCD doesn’t discriminate. read more »

Scrupulosity: Blackmailed by OCD in the Name of God

Scrupulosity: Blackmailed by OCD in the Name of God By Laurie Krauth I pass by a picture of my kids and think, “Satan: they are my gift to you,” my new client John, a wonderful husband, father of three and successful businessman tells me. “Why would I think that? I would never sell my soul to the Devil.” On another day, he says in shame, “We are cutting shapes out of construction paper at the table and I’m thinking the Devil will make me lose control…In church finally, I’m feeling hope and then I think maybe God wants me to harm someone. read more »

Medications Approved for Treatment of OCD

Medications known as serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SRIs) have been used for many years to treat OCD.  An SRI known as Anafranil has been available the longest and is the best-studied medicine for OCD.  .    Anafranil has been approved by the FDA to treat OCD in adults and children 10 years of age and above.  Although it has been shown to be very effective, it has been associated with some potentially harmful side effects. read more »

What OCD Isn’t - Beyond OCD Resources

Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder (OCPD) Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder is sometimes mistaken for OCD.  While the names are confusingly similar, the disorders are quite different.  OCPD is a personality disorder, wheras OCD is not. Usually identified in early adulthood, OCPD involves a preoccupation with orderliness, perfectionism and control in virtually every part of an individual’s life. read more »

When Money Is a Problem - Options for Getting Better

When money is an issue, it can present challenges to getting OCD treatment.  But don’t give up.  Here are some ideas for how to pay for treatment or stretch limited dollars to get help. Some colleges and universities offer Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) without cost to registered students.  Check the requirements to determine if you must be considered a full-time student to take advantage of the school’s health services. read more »

Why Doing Your Compulsions Won’t Make Your OCD Better

Why Doing Your Compulsions Won’t Make Your OCD Better Research shows that performing compulsions actually makes obsessions come back stronger.  The compulsions may give you temporary relief, but in the long run, they actually reinforce the obsessive thoughts.  Here’s an example: Sarah worries obsessively that her father will be killed in an accident unless she avoids using the number four – that’s the obsession. read more »

Why OCD Occurs More In College Students

Why OCD Occurs More In College Students Medical problems can happen any time – that’s why most colleges and universities have a health center on campus.  Some disorders, including OCD, tend to surface for the first time at an age when many young people are in college.  Other people have their first significant symptoms while they’re away at school. read more »

Medication Can Help Treat OCD - But Don’t Go It Alone.

Medication Can Help Treat OCD—But Don’t Go It Alone. Many experts believe that Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) tends to be a faster-acting and more cost-effective treatment for OCD over time than medication, and it doesn’t involve the risk of side effects.  In addition, studies have indicated that as many as 85% of people who complete CBT experience a significant reduction in symptoms; the success rate for medication is substantially lower. read more »

Telling Others About Your OCD

In a world of social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest, blogs on every topic imaginable, forwarded emails, “googling” for information about people, and personal YouTube videos just a click away, it sometimes seems that everyone’s life is exposed for all to see.  But many people prefer to be more private when it comes to OCD. read more »

About Disability Accommodations for OCD

About Disability Accommodations Most colleges and universities are required to offer accommodations to students with a disability (a physical or mental health problem that limits your major life activities) under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973   These laws, which protect students from discrimination on the basis of disability, require schools to provide accommodations to help “level the playing field” for students with disabilities. read more »

About Medical Leaves of Absence for OCD Treatment

About Medical Leaves of Absence If your coursework is suffering because of OCD, and you’re concerned about your grades, you may be thinking of taking a medical leave of absence from college so you can concentrate on treatment for OCD. Many cognitive behavior therapists who treat college students with OCD encourage students to stay in school during treatment. read more »

If Your College Limits the Number of CBT Therapy Sessions

If Your College Limits the Number of CBT Therapy Sessions If your college or university offers Cognitive Behavior Therapy through the student health center or counseling service, that’s a plus.  But if they limit the number of visits you can have, that can pose a challenge.  The usual treatment time for CBT is approximately 12 to 16 weekly sessions. read more »

Should I Change Schools to Get Treatment for OCD?

Should I Change Schools to Get Treatment for OCD? Transferring to another school is obviously a major decision.  But if your OCD is severe, and you can’t find treatment nearby, you might consider looking for a school where treatment for OCD is available.  If you do, here are some points to consider: Is the school a good fit for you – academically and socially? read more »

What If I Don’t Get Treatment for My OCD?

Obsessions can interfere with your thinking process.  Left untreated, these recurring thoughts and urges can decrease your ability to concentrate and interfere with short-term memory.  Compulsions consume valuable time and drain your energy – both physically and mentally.  They force you to focus on details and insignificant – even nonexistent – issues, rather than what’s important. read more »

Do I Have To Be Hospitalized to Treat My OCD?

Do I Have To Be Hospitalized to Treat My OCD? Most likely not.  We know how bad OCD can get, but the vast majority of  people can be treated successfully on an outpatient basis.  Although OCD can make life miserable, Cognitive Behavior Therapy, which includes a technique known as Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP), can be very effective in significantly reducing your symptoms. read more »

Make Your OCD Treatment Successful

We all know that there are no guarantees in life.  What we do know, however, is that many of the most worthwhile achievements in life require a substantial commitment.  Participating in Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) for your OCD is one of them.  When you begin CBT, your therapist will be very open and honest with you about the commitment you’ll need to make to be successful in overcoming your symptoms. read more »

Why Can’t I Just Stop My OCD?

Why Can’t I Just Stop My OCD? OCD is an illness, not a character flaw or sign of weakness.  It can’t be overcome simply through willpower, just as one cannot overcome asthma or diabetes by merely willing it away.  If people tell you to just “STOP IT!” they don’t understand that you can’t stop by yourself. read more »

Overcoming OCD - The College Student’s Guide

Overcoming OCD - The College Student’s Guide This site is for you if you: Have been diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) Worry that you might have OCD Think you might be going crazy because of confusing fears and worries that won’t go away. Have strange intrusive thoughts you don’t understand and feel compelled to perform certain actions in response to these thoughts You’re not alone, and there is an effective treatment for OCD — so you can look forward to relief from OCD and getting your life back. read more »

Who we are - Beyond OCD

Staff directory coming soon. read more »

Committed to OCD Education and Support

Beyond OCD, the leading provider of consumer-friendly resources to cope with and conquer Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), works to increase public and professional awareness of OCD, educate and support people with OCD and their families, and encourage research into new treatments and a cure. Requests for our services have risen to a new level, largely due to increased media attention on mental health issues and brain disorders such as OCD. read more »

Beyond OCD Media Center

Beyond OCD’s Media Center provides accurate, up-to-date information for journalists about Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).  We hope the resources on our web site will help you in your coverage of OCD and its frequently debilitating effects. Beyond OCD is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of people who suffer with OCD and those who care about them. read more »

Counseling About Financial Issues in OCD Treatment

Money concerns can definitely present challenges to getting OCD treatment.  If financial difficulties are keeping someone you’re counseling from getting help to overcome OCD, it’s important to inform him or her that there may be ways to reduce or finance the costs of treatment.  Here are some ideas for how to pay for treatment or stretch limited dollars to get help. read more »

Why Some Individuals Don’t Recover from OCD

Fortunately, effective treatment that helps most people with OCD achieve significant relief from their symptoms is available.  But getting appropriate help and sticking to the treatment plan are key to getting relief from OCD.  Even when treatment gains are made, it can be difficult to sustain improvement.  That’s why being knowledgeable about OCD is so important. read more »

Counseling a Person With OCD

It’s not unusual for people to wait until they have exhausted all “logical” courses of action before they turn to God or their religious leaders for help.  Some people have lived with the anguish of obsessions and compulsions for years – perhaps their entire lives.  Parents and family members of OCD sufferers may not approach you, either, until they think they’ve tried everything to help their loved one cope with OCD and are at their wits’ end. read more »

What is Scrupulosity?

What is Scrupulosity? Scrupulosity is a form of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) involving religious or moral obsessions. Scrupulous individuals are overly concerned that something they thought or did might be a sin or other violation of moral doctrine.          Presenting Dr. Karen Cassiday, PhD, Managing Director The Anxiety Treatment. read more »

How to Support A Friend with OCD

Learn About OCD To provide the best support possible to your friend, you will need to better understand what he or she goes through with this frequently debilitating disorder. We recommend you visit the OCD Facts, Individuals, or Parents section of this web site for more information about: Who is affected by OCD What OCD is read more »

Help for Families Living with OCD

When someone in your family has OCD, everyone is affected. It’s natural to have strong emotions about this intruder in your home.  Feelings can include frustration, resentment, anger, embarrassment and exhaustion from trying to live in a household where OCD seems to be in control. If you are at a point where you only suspect that OCD may be the problem, it’s important for your loved one to have a thorough evaluation and get an accurate diagnosis so treatment can begin – whether for OCD or another mental disorder that may be causing distress. read more »

Example Of A Family Contract for OCD

One exercise that many cognitive behavior therapists use in treating OCD is the family contract.  The purpose of this contract is to develop a plan for helping you and your family members stop accommodating your loved ones OCD.   The therapist may have a sample form or blank template you can use to create your family contract. An Example of a Family Contract The Situation: Dad has OCD and  his obsessions involve safety issues. read more »

Make A Family Contract for OCD

Family members often participate in a loved one’s OCD rituals because they believe they are helping him or her.  Unfortunately, participating in, or accommodating, rituals actually allows or enables compulsions to persist and even become stronger.  Therefore, one of the most important ways family members can support a loved one with OCD is by ending their participation in OCD rituals. read more »

Stop Accommodating OCD

Perhaps you’ve already tried a variety of ways to help your family member live with his or her OCD by: Getting involved in performing rituals, such as checking door locks, Helping decontaminate clothing, food or even entire rooms; Providing verbal reassurances to excessive reassurance-seeking requests; Providing items read more »

OCD Information for Friends and Family

When Someone You Love Has OCD If you feel frustrated, angry, overwhelmed or hopeless, you are not alone. Today there are new and better strategies for coping with OCD. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) affects millions of people in the U.S. and around the world.  If one of those people is someone you love, you know that the impact of OCD reaches far beyond the person who has been diagnosed with this disorder. read more »

Helping People in Crisis

As a member of the clergy, you bring comfort to people when their lives are disrupted by the unexpected: emergencies, disasters, sicknesses and the loss of loved ones.  Because you are also the person to whom many people turn when they are overwhelmed by lifes circumstances, it is entirely possible that individuals who are battling OCD – or  symptoms of what may be OCD – will come to you for help. read more »

OCD Information for Clergy

(Note: In the article below, the term “clergy” is meant to include religious leaders, authorities or teachers associated with any religion or faith.) In times of crisis, many people turn to religion for help.  When Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is the crisis, people frequently consult their religious leaders, seeking guidance and advice about what can be a potentially debilitating disorder. read more »

OCD in Children - Compulsive Behavior in Children

If your child has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, or is exhibiting symptoms that could be OCD, he or she is not alone. Current estimates suggest that one in 100 children has OCD, which means that millions of children worldwide are suffering with this disorder.  When you include parents, other family members, friends, and school personnel who are affected by a child with OCD, this unwanted condition has an impact on many millions more. read more »

Is OCD A New Disorder?

OCD is not a new disorder.  But years ago, much less was known about it than is known today.  There were no consumer books written about OCD until the late 1980s.  Until relatively recently, information was not readily available on the Internet.  And just decades ago, research on OCD was virtually nonexistent.  As a result, few tools were available to help professionals understand OCD – or to help struggling parents make sense of their child’s unusual behavior and treat it appropriately. read more »

OCD in Adults Children and Compulsive Behaviors

Helping An Adult Child Who Has OCD OCD is disorder that has a neurobiological basis.  It equally affects men, women and children of all races, ethnicities and socioeconomic backgrounds.  If your adult child has OCD, or if you believe he or she has OCD, you are one of millions of parents who know the heartbreak of this frequently debilitating illness. read more »

OCD Information for Parents | Beyond OCD

A Parent’s Guide - Helping a Child Who Has OCD If your child suffers from OCD, neither you nor your child is alone in battling this disorder.  Not only do millions of adults have OCD, but also millions of children struggle with OCD. Learning about OCD can help you sort out whether your child’s behavior or symptoms appear to be signs of OCD. read more »

Find a Support Group

This list of Support Groups for OCD and related disorders is provided for information purposes only. Beyond OCD does not investigate or evaluate these groups, and cannot recommend or endorse the competence or expertise of group leaders. Please contact Beyond OCD if you are interested in starting a Support Group. Note: On occasion, individual Support Group meetings are cancelled or rescheduled. read more »

Beyond OCD Recommended Websites

The web sites listed in this section are ones we’ve found to be helpful for people seeking additional information about OCD and how to improve the quality of life for individuals and families affected by this disorder.  Some of the links are to web sites that focus on particular types of OCD or related anxiety disorders. After you have visited these web sites, we encourage you to come back to Beyond OCD ’s web site to find recommended books about these topics. read more »

The scientific understanding of OCD

The scientific understanding of OCD -- and how to treat it -- has increased significantly in just the past few years. New information is published frequently, and more mental health professionals are becoming actively involved in treatment and outreach. Beyond OCD is fully up to date on the subject of OCD and is a resource where the most current -- and most useful -- information is always available. read more »

OCD Recovery Avoidence

In some cases, people become very knowledgeable about OCD and understand that effective treatment is available.  But they still don’t commit to treatment and therefore do not get relief from OCD.  This can be extremely frustrating for loved ones who want to see a family member, friend or someone they care about recover from this disorder. read more »

OCD Medication Treatment

Cognitive Behavior Therapy has been shown to have many benefits over medication alone.  It tends to be faster-acting and more cost-effective over time, for example, and it doesn’t involve the risk of side effects.  Furthermore, studies have consistently shown that the positive gains associated with CBT are longer-lasting than those of medication; relapse rates are lower when CBT is discontinued than when medication is stopped. read more »

ADHD in Adults

ADHD in Adults By Ira S Halper M.D Many children and adolescents who suffer from obsessive-compulsive disorder also meet criteria for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. OCD and ADHD can coexist in adults as well.  Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder is a neuropsychiatric disorder of executive functions that can affect attention, memory, organization, planning, and emotional regulation. read more »

How to Defeat OCD by Surrendering

How to Defeat OCD by Surrendering By Dr. Fred Penzel Over the years, I have watched my OCD patients putting great amounts of emotional, mental, and physical energy into the struggle against their symptoms. OCD, as we know, is especially characterized by doubt, and they seemed to believe that there just had to be a way to overcome their crushing doubts and the severe resulting anxiety. read more »

Is There a Relationship Between OCD and Social Anxiety Disorder/Phobia (SAD)?

Is There a Relationship Between OCD and Social Anxiety Disorder/Phobia (SAD)? By Shana Doronn, Ph.D. Many people experience anxiety at some point in their life as it relates to social situations.  However, some individuals are so distressed about engaging in social situations that it interferes with their daily life.  OCD and SAD are both anxiety disorders that can render someone disabled and require treatment. read more »

What if you can’t afford treatment?

What if you can’t afford treatment? By Kevin L. Gyoerkoe, Psy.D. If you suffer from Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a highly effective form of treatment.  However, while it is a cost-effective form of treatment, the expense of therapy is daunting for many people.  In this article, I’ll outline concrete steps you can take to get the help you need if you feel you can’t afford treatment. read more »

Self-Directed Treatment for OCD: The Irony of Doing the Opposite

Self-Directed Treatment for OCD: The Irony of Doing the Opposite By Paul R. Munford, Ph.D. I remember a movie in which one of the characters went around asking people to define the word "irony." Although most of them seemed to know what it meant, they were unable to put it into words.  Not until the end of the movie did one of them give the definition. read more »

Acceptance and OCD

Acceptance and OCD By Fred Penzel, Ph.D. Those of you reading this article probably think a lot about "change." That is, changing your compulsive behaviors, changing your obsessive thinking, changing the way you live, etc. Change is a fact of life. We all are in some state of change at any given time, whether we realize it or not. In many treatments for OCD, there is also a constant emphasis upon change. read more »

Resilience in the Recession: Seven Strategies to Free Yourself from Negative Thinking

Resilience in the Recession: Seven Strategies to Free Yourself from Negative Thinking By Tamar Chansky, Ph.D. After a week and half of holiday joy and distractions, returning to real life on January 5th has hit many of us as the mother of all dreaded Monday mornings. If you are feeling daunted by the spinning thoughts of uncertainty--the recession, bills, bailouts, wars--you are not alone. read more »

What The Heck is Obsessive Slowness?

What The Heck is Obsessive Slowness? By Fred Penzel, Ph.D. Everybody has pet peeves. Mine happen to include technical terms that are commonly used but dont really mean anything. Within the field of OCD, one particular term that I really wish would go away is "obsessive slowness." Researchers and practitioners generally use it to describe the behavior of people who carry out everyday activities in an extremely slow manner. read more »

What Does Habituation Mean?

What Does Habituation Mean? By Bradley C. Riemann, Ph.D. - Director, OCD Center at Rogers Memorial Hospital Exposure and ritual prevention (ERP) has been found to be very effective for treating obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) over the last 35 years.  We know that as many as 85% of people with OCD can be helped by using ERP.  However, many OCD sufferers and their families are confused by some of the terminology associated with this technique. read more »

Ten Things You Need To Know To Overcome OCD

By Fred Penzel, Ph.D. I have been actively involved in the treatment of OCD since 1982, and have treated over 850 cases of the disorder.  During that time, I have come to many valuable understandings that I believe are important tools for anyone planning to take on this disorder.  Putting together this type of list always seems arbitrary in terms of what to include, but suffice it to say, however it is presented, there is a certain body of information that can make anyones attempts at recovery more effective. read more »

How I Treat OCD

How I Treat OCD By Bradley C. Riemann, Ph.D. - Director, OCD Center at Rogers Memorial Hospital Overall, the psychosocial treatment protocol for obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) has been well established and empirically supported.  Exposure and ritual prevention (ERP) has been found to produce successful management of symptoms in roughly 85% of OCD cases. read more »

Getting The Right Treatment For An Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Getting The Right Treatment For An Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder By Fred Penzel, Ph.D. Whenever you get the name of a behavioral therapist or psychiatrist, whatever the source, be sure to check out the practitioners credentials and level of knowledge and experience.  Dont be afraid to conduct a mini-interview with them when you call. You have the right to assertively question their ability to help you. read more »

Don’t Be Afraid of the Word “Disorder”

Don’t Be Afraid of the Word “Disorder” By Bradley C. Riemann, Ph.D. Director, OCD Center at Rogers Memorial Hospital I have assessed and treated many young people with OCD.  Typically, towards the end of my initial meeting with them and their parents I begin to explain what OCD is, and how common it is, etc.  I break down OCD by obsessions (unwanted, intrusive thoughts, images and impulses that cause anxiety) compulsions (some repetitive or ritualistic act that is done to neutralize the obsessive thought or get rid of the anxiety that the obsessive thought causes) and the word disorder. read more »

OCD Expert Perspectives

To bring you the most current information about Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and its treatment, we have asked some of the top OCD experts to share their perspectives on this web site. We hope this information will give you new insights and understanding about the disorder and provide new opportunities for you to gain relief from the debilitating effects of OCD. read more »

OCD Treatment Challenges

Being knowledgeable about OCD is a powerful tool that’s linked to success in treating this disorder.  Understanding barriers to treatment and knowing what to expect ahead of time are extremely important to successful treatment. Getting appropriate treatment for OCD and committing to a treatment plan are key to achieving relief from OCD. read more »

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Choosing An OCD Therapist - Friends and Family

Choosing A Therapist Your relationship with your therapist is extremely important.  Finding a professional who is right for you is critical to your success in overcoming OCD.  During therapy sessions, you’ll need to discuss your fears and behaviors with this person, which may be very uncomfortable.  You must also be willing to do the ERP exercises he or she prescribes. read more »

OCD Personal Stories of Success

If you have OCD, or someone you care about suffers with OCD, you are not alone. Millions of people are affected by OCD.  Current estimates suggest that approximately 1 in 40 adults in the U.S. (about 2.3% of the population and 1 in 100 children have this condition.  And when the families and friends of these people are added, OCD is an unwanted part of the daily lives of many more millions of people. read more »

Cognitive Behavior Therapy and ERP

A special kind of therapy called Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) is the treatment of choice for OCD.  CBT involves the use of two evidence-based techniques: Exposure and Response Prevention therapy (ERP) and Cognitive Therapy (CT).   Exposure and Response Prevention With Exposure and Response Prevention, a mental health professional trained in CBT conducts a series of controlled ERP sessions with the patient who has OCD. read more »

Causes of OCD and OCD Misperceptions

People who have OCD didn’t do something to cause it.  And it isn’t caused by anyone else, either.  OCD isn’t the result of how parents talk with their children or don’t talk with them.  It’s not caused by how children are disciplined or not disciplined or how they were toilet-trained.  It doesn’t matter if both parents work, if mom is a stay-at-home mom or if the parents are divorced or remarry. read more »

What Causes Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)?

Everyone experiences intrusive, random and strange thoughts. Most people are able to dismiss them from consciousness and move on.  But these random thoughts get “stuck” in the brains of individuals with OCD; they’re like the brain’s junk mail.  Most people have a spam filter and can simply ignore incoming junk mail. read more »

OCD Symptoms: Pure O

Over the years, a theory of “Pure obsessional,” or “Pure O,” Obsessive Compulsive Disorder was raised by some in the field of OCD study.  According to this theory, a person had a “different” subtype of OCD, because he or she was not observed performing overt, or visible, compulsions.  Today, this theory is not supported by most experts. read more »

Self Screening Test for OCD

Our test is currently being redesigned based on recent studies. Please check back later or get notified by signing up for our newsletter. The old test questions are shown below as a reference, the test grading system is no longer available for this set of question. Have you been bothered by unpleasant thoughts or images that repeatedly enter your mind, such as: Concerns with contamination (dirt, germs, chemicals, radiation) or acquiring a serious illness such as AIDS? read more »

Beyond OCD's Self Screening Test

Identifying the symptoms of OCD can be the first step in getting effective treatment and relief from OCD.  The OCD Self-Screening Test can give you insights into your thoughts and behaviors, but you should keep in mind that only a qualified mental health clinician can make an actual diagnosis. This test is the online version of the Florida Obsessive Compulsive Inventory (FOCI). read more »

OCD Symptoms: Postpartum OCD (PPOCD)

It has been estimated that approximately two to three percent of new mothers experience postpartum OCD (PPOCD).  With this disorder, a woman may have obsessive, intrusive thoughts and fears about her baby’s safety.  Symptoms include: excessively washing or sterilizing baby bottles excessively washing baby clothing, read more »

OCD Symptoms: Sexuality Doubt

Someone with sexuality doubt is overly concerned about his or her sexual orientation, or sexual identity.  We tend to think of this form of OCD, which has been referred to as “Sexual Orientation OCD,” as pertaining to people who aren’t gay or lesbian having doubts or fears that they might not be heterosexual. It’s important to keep in mind, however, that Sexual Orientation OCD is not exclusive to heterosexuals. read more »

OCD Symptoms: Need for Perfection

Obsessions often seen with “perfectionism” as a form of OCD include: An overwhelming fear of making mistakes; an intense need for things to be “perfect” or “done right” – may or may not be accompanied by a fear that harm will come to oneself or others if things are not done perfectly Fear read more »

OCD Symptoms: Need for Symmetry

Obsessions and compulsions associated with symmetry or exactness may be somewhat stereotyped, as seen on some television programs where the featured character is depicted as constantly rearranging misaligned items in a comical manner.  Although the obsessions a real person with this type of OCD has may be similar to those portrayed in the media, it’s essential to keep in mind that in reality, obsessions and compulsions are anything but amusing. read more »

OCD Symptoms: Religious and Moral Fears

A number of individuals with OCD have significant fears related to religion.  They may fear, for example, that they somehow are praying to the devil or will go to hell if they look at a religious statue the wrong way. Worries about imagined sins and other religious matters, which has sometimes been referred to as religious Scrupulos read more »

OCD Symptoms: OCD-Related Hoarding

The obsessions and compulsions associated with OCD sometimes result in an individual’s having difficulty discarding and/or acquiring items or possessions .  For example, some people with OCD have fears or feelings that something bad or catastrophic will happen if they throw something away.  In other situations, individuals have feelings of incompleteness if something is given or thrown away; they may have a need to document and preserve all of their life experiences (e. read more »

OCD Symptoms: Fear of Causing Harm

Individuals with OCD frequently have fears that they or someone they care about will be harmed.  These fears often lead to checking behavior – checking that doors are locked, for example, to prevent intruders from getting into the house.  Or making sure that all electrical items are turned off so a fire doesn’t start. read more »

Recommended Books for Going Beyond OCD

Many books available today are helpful resources that provide information about OCD, living with the disorder, and how to recover with the appropriate treatment. Coming soon. read more »

OCD Symptoms: Fear of Contamination

A fear of contamination due to dirt, germs, viruses, and a multitude of other substances or items, including chemicals, radioactivity, greasy or sticky substances, bodily excretions (urine, feces), bodily secretions (sweat, saliva, mucus, tears, etc.), and blood can include obsessive fears about: Touching surfaces (in public places or read more »

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Symptoms - Individual

Obsessions and Compulsions What Is OCD? OCD is a disorder that has a neurobiological basis.  People who have OCD are driven by obsessions (persistent, uncontrollable thoughts, impulses, or images that are intrusive, unwanted and disturbing) to perform compulsions (repetitive behaviors often called rituals) in an attempt to reduce anxiety, fear, worry, doubt and distress created by the obsessions. read more »

OCD in Adults | Compulsive Behaviors | OCD Information | Beyond OCD

OCD is a disorder that has a neurobiological basis.  Put simply, it’s a potentially disabling illness that is characterized by persistent, uncontrollable thoughts, impulses, or images that are intrusive, unwanted and disturbing (obsessions) and ritualistic behavior (compulsions) performed in response to these obsessions.  While symptoms vary, many people with OCD suffer greatly because they feel trapped in a never-ending cycle of worry. read more »

Related Conditions: Disorders That May Co-exist with OCD

When two diagnoses occur in the same individual, they’re referred to as “comorbid” disorders.  According to the most recent, large-scale community study of mental health in adults across the United States, 90% of the adults who reported OCD at some point in their lives also had at least one other comorbid condition, including anxiety, mood, AD/HD, oppositional-defiant, and substance use disorders. read more »

Who Is Affected by OCD?

According to the most recent, large-scale community study of mental health in adults across the United States:      - 1.2 % of the adults met full criteria for OCD in the 12 months prior to the study,         and      - 2.3% met the criteria for a diagnosis of OCD at some point in their lives – that’s over 5 million Americans, or approximately 1 in 40 adults. read more »

Clinical Definition of OCD

The DSM-5 ( Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition ) provides clinicians with official definitions of and criteria for diagnosing mental disorders and dysfunctions.  Although not all experts agree on the definitions and criteria set forth in the DSM-5, it is considered the "gold standard" by most mental health professionals in the United States. read more »

Facts about Obsessive Compulsive Disorder | Beyond OCD

OCD is a disorder that has a neurobiological basis.  It equally affects men, women and children of all races, ethnicities and socioeconomic backgrounds.  In the United States, about 1 in 40 adults and 1 in 100 children have OCD.  And according to the World Health Organization, OCD is one of the top 20 causes of illness-related disability, worldwide, for individuals between 15 and 44 years of age. read more »

OCD Information and Download Guides

This series of OCD Guides was developed to provide comprehensive and encouraging information about OCD. Learn how to improve your life through treatment and become a powerful agent of change in your recovery. These guides were developed by Beyond OCD of the USA, which is now part of ADAA. Relief from OCD is for those who have OCD and the people who care about them. read more »