Obsessive-Compulsive Disorders are persistent intrusive obsessive thoughts and, at times, coincide with repetitive behaviors.
OCD involves persistent and intrusive thoughts about any number of topics and are often accompanied by repetitive behaviors often performed to ease anxiety. A person suffering with OCD can have recurrent unwanted thoughts that are very difficult to ignore or at times feel compelled to perform a compulsion (repeated behaviors like checking, washing, and ordering) which are experienced as distressing and affect functioning.
OCD often centers around certain themes like an excessive fear of getting contaminated by germs. For example, in order to alleviate this contamination fear, a person might compulsively wash their hands until they are sore and chapped. They may also begin to avoid situations and people, in order to reduce their OCD symptoms.
Hoarding Disorder means a person has difficulty disposing or giving up possessions, even if those possessions have little or no value. They may excessively acquire items that make their living spaces extremely cluttered to the point of being obstructive. If living areas do not become cluttered, it is only because someone else is intervening.
Body Dysmorphic Disorder is when a person is obsessed with a perceived flaw in their physical appearance that seems only observable to them. Repeated behaviors like excessively checking the mirror or constant grooming or skin picking is performed.
Skin/Hair Picking Disorder is the recurrent pulling out of hair causing hair loss or picking at skin causing skin lesions along with repeated attempts to stop the behavior.
These behaviors are time consuming and interfere with daily functioning. Some people suffering with obsessive-compulsive disorders have a suspicion that their obsessions are untrue, and others believe their obsessions have a chance of being true. However, even if they believe their obsessions may be untrue, someone with obsessive compulsive disorder still finds it difficult to stop their obsessions and compulsions (APA, 2013).
Dr. Helen Blair Simpson Interview
Dr. Helen Blair Simpson is a Professor of Psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center and Director of the Center for Obsessive-Compulsive and Related Disorders. Dr. Simpson is also the Director of the Anxiety Disorders Clinic at the New York State Psychiatric Institute. Her research program focuses on how to improve treatments for people with obsessive-compulsive disorder so that they can live productive lives. Dr. Simpson’s research is interdisciplinary and includes treatment development studies, clinical trials examining the effects of medication and cognitive-behavioral therapy, brain imaging studies exploring the brain mechanisms of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, and animal studies in collaboration with basic scientists. Her work has been funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, and private foundations like the Obsessive-Compulsive Foundation and the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation. Dr. Simpson was a member of the workgroup that developed the first Practice Guidelines for the Treatment of Patients with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder for the American Psychiatric Association. She is an advisor to the World Health Organization for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and related disorders.
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