People with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) suffer from distressing thoughts they can’t control, and create rituals or compulsions they must perform to manage their stress. At Bright Horizons Psychiatry in North Bethesda, Maryland, Amir Etesam, MD, and his team treat OCD using novel medication combinations and transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). Call Bright Horizons Psychiatry today or request an appointment online to benefit from effective OCD treatments.

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What is OCD?

OCD is a chronic disorder where people experience frequent uncontrollable thoughts (obsessions). Many then develop repetitive behaviors (compulsions) to cope with the distress these obsessions cause.

Obsessions are unwanted thoughts and images that repeatedly come into your mind. Being unable to clear them causes intense anxiety. Anything could be a focus for an obsession, but common themes include germs and contamination, taboo sexual acts, and religion.

Compulsions are repeated actions someone with OCD feels they must perform. They typically develop as a way of regaining some control and preventing obsessions from worsening.

For example, someone who has a germ obsession might spend excessive time cleaning their homes or washing their hands so often that their skin bleeds. Yet they’re unable to stop.

Other common compulsions include repeatedly checking on things — opening and closing doors or flicking light switches a specific number of times whenever leaving a room — and counting, mentally or out loud.

People obsessed with order and symmetry spend hours ensuring everything around them is in precisely the right place.

When does OCD become a problem?

Many people have obsessive or compulsive tendencies without it affecting their lives. If you obsess over a favorite sports team or celebrity and follow them devotedly, it’s a pleasurable hobby rather than a psychological disorder. Similarly, arranging the clothes in your closet in color order doesn’t constitute a compulsion.

However, having uncontrollable thoughts about harming someone or rearranging the order of your clothes every day does indicate your behavior has become a problem. If your obsessions and compulsions prevent you from enjoying a relationship, family life, and work, the Bright Horizons Psychiatry team can help.


How is OCD treated?

Bright Horizons Psychiatry offers personalized treatment for people with OCD. Most benefit from medications that reduce anxiety and other OCD symptoms.

If your OCD doesn’t improve with these approaches, the Bright Horizons Psychiatry team also offers transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). This safe, noninvasive treatment can help patients with treatment-resistant OCD and has FDA approval for this purpose.

To learn more about effective treatments for OCD, call Bright Horizons Psychiatry today or book an appointment online.