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What Are Compulsive Behaviors?

We all have routines and habits that might seem peculiar to others. However, when these actions become excessive and driven by an uncontrollable urge, they may signify something more profound—such as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). In Massachusetts, and indeed globally, increasing awareness and understanding about mental health issues have paved the way for discussions about conditions like OCD and the repetitive and compulsive behaviors associated with it. To learn more about this condition, its associated symptoms, and OCD treatment services available in Massachusetts, contact Northeast Health Services by calling 508.794.8711 today.

What Is Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder?

Obsessive-compulsive disorder is a mental health condition characterized by unwanted and intrusive obsessive thoughts, leading to compulsive behaviors—repetitive acts performed in an attempt to alleviate the distress caused by the obsessions. While OCD varies in form and intensity, it usually causes significant distress and impairment in functioning, affecting individuals’ work, relationships, and daily activities.

What Are Compulsive Behaviors?

Recognizing obsessive-compulsive disorder can be challenging, as compulsive behaviors often masquerade as everyday activities. However, the critical difference lies in the frequency, intensity, and impact of these behaviors on an individual’s life:

  • Excessive cleaning and washing – Stemming from a fear of contamination, this leads to compulsive hand-washing, extensive showering, or thorough cleaning of objects and surfaces. This extreme cleanliness, beyond regular hygiene, can consume much time and cause skin irritation from frequent washing.
  • Counting and arranging – Driven by a need for order and symmetry, individuals may spend a lot of time organizing items precisely or repeating actions to reduce anxiety. This quest for precision can make everyday tasks and routines time-consuming and inflexible.
  • Checking – Involves repeatedly ensuring that things like locks, appliances, and switches are safe to prevent any possible damage or harm. This compulsion can become a time-consuming ritual that disrupts daily life, with repeated checks due to fears of potential disasters.
  • Hoarding – This is marked by the inability to throw away items, leading to clutter and disorganization. Driven by a fear of losing something essential or believing items will be needed later, this can result in hazardous living conditions.

These behaviors are performed to relieve the anxiety caused by obsessive thoughts temporarily. However, the relief is often short-lived, creating a cycle of obsessions and compulsions.

How Can OCD Treatment Help?

Obsessive-compulsive disorder is a challenging condition, but effective treatments can significantly improve the quality of life for those affected. At Northeast Health Services, we understand that each individual’s experience with OCD is unique. Therefore, our OCD treatment services are tailored to meet the specific needs of our clients, involving a combination of therapeutic approaches:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) – This evidence-based approach is highly effective in treating OCD. It involves identifying and challenging the distorted beliefs underlying the compulsions and gradually exposing the individual to fear-inducing stimuli to reduce their power.
  • Exposure and response prevention (ERP) therapy – This is a type of CBT that focuses specifically on exposing individuals to their obsessive triggers and preventing them from engaging in compulsive behaviors. With time and practice, individuals learn to tolerate the anxiety without resorting to rituals.
  • Medication management – In some cases, medication, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), may be prescribed to help manage the symptoms of OCD, often in conjunction with psychotherapy.
  • Support groups – Participating in support groups can provide individuals with a sense of community and understanding, reducing the feelings of isolation often associated with OCD.

Our dedicated team of mental health professionals is committed to helping our clients navigate their treatment options, ensuring they receive the support necessary for their recovery.

Connect with Northeast Health Services and Start OCD Treatment in Massachusetts Today

Compulsive behaviors can be perplexing and distressing, not just for those experiencing them but also for their loved ones. Understanding these behaviors as signs of a deeper issue, like obsessive-compulsive disorder, is the first step toward getting help. Northeast Health Services dedicates itself to providing every client with compassionate and comprehensive mental health care.

If you’re ready to take the next step in your mental health journey, click here to reach out to our team of empathetic mental health care experts. For existing clients, please click here and find your office location to contact your office directly.