People who have OCD may feel like they have no control of their thoughts and behaviors. The compulsive behaviors can be time-consuming and distressing and interfere with a person’s daily life. At Life Healing Center in Santa Fe, New Mexico, we understand how challenging it can be to live with OCD, and we provide comprehensive treatment for adults age 18 and older who are struggling with this disorder. Our residential treatment center is designed to help you learn how to manage the symptoms of OCD and live a healthy and satisfying life.
Treating Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a chronic mental health condition characterized by persistent, unwanted thoughts and repetitive behaviors. People who have OCD may experience fear or anxiety around these intrusive thoughts (obsessions), leading them to perform certain behaviors (compulsions) to alleviate those feelings.
Although OCD cannot be cured, it is a treatable condition.
Our adult OCD treatment center in Santa Fe, New Mexico, offers various evidence-based therapies based on your individual needs and treatment goals. Each client at our residential treatment center receives an individualized care plan when they arrive at our campus, but principles of cognitive behavioral therapy and dialectical behavior therapy are woven into everyone’s treatment.
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of talk therapy that focuses on changing negative thought patterns and behaviors. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), CBT can help someone who has OCD understand that their brain is sending error messages. A therapist can help you examine these obsessive thoughts objectively and show you how to think about what is accurate or true instead.
- Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is an approach to therapy that can help someone who is struggling with OCD learn mindfulness, distress tolerance, and emotion regulation. Our compassionate team of OCD treatment professionals can help you better understand your feelings and find healthy ways to cope with them that do not involve compulsive behaviors.
The following may also be incorporated into your treatment plan during your stay at our obsessive-compulsive disorder treatment center:
- Meeting with a psychiatrist within 24-48 hours of arriving at our residential treatment center
- Individual therapy sessions twice a week where you can learn to identify problematic thoughts and behaviors and develop strategies to address them
- Group therapy sessions for around six hours a day that can allow you to practice and apply the skills you learn in individual therapy in a supportive environment
- Trauma-informed yoga, sound therapy, qi gong, psychodrama, grief support groups, narrative therapy, and mindfulness meditation
- Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR)
- Somatic experiencing, through which you can learn how trauma may have contributed to your current OCD symptoms
- Art therapy led by a licensed art therapist
Everyone who comes to our New Mexico residential treatment center has the opportunity to walk our beautiful, 9-acre campus in the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. For more than 35 years, our campus has been considered a sacred place for healing for those who are struggling with OCD and other mental health concerns.
OCD Treatment in Santa Fe
Reaching out for help for obsessive-compulsive disorder takes courage and humility. At our adult OCD treatment center in Santa Fe, New Mexico, we want to honor your journey and provide you with the tools to live a life full of continued healing. Our residential treatment center offers the opportunity for you to learn emotion regulation and healthy coping skills while pursuing personal transformation.
The path to greater wellness involves addressing the whole person — mind, body, and spirit. Because of this, our caring staff is trained in trauma-informed care and alternative therapies to help you pursue comprehensive healing. The admissions coordinators at our residential OCD treatment center are available to answer any questions you may have about the admissions process, the services we offer, or the ways we can best assist you.
Signs & Symptoms of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
The signs and symptoms of OCD can vary in severity and type, and not everyone experiences the same symptoms. However, OCD generally involves a combination of intrusive thoughts and corresponding compulsive behaviors. These obsessions and compulsions can be time-consuming and interfere with someone’s life and sense of well-being. It is important to note that these thoughts and behaviors are not voluntary and can cause someone severe distress and impairment if left untreated.
Signs and symptoms of OCD may include:
- Recurring thoughts or urges
- Repetitive behaviors or mental acts, such as excessive hand-washing, repeated checking of locks or switches, opening and closing doors, counting or repeating words or phrases, and rearranging objects in a specific way
- Fears of contamination or germs
- Thoughts of harming oneself or others
- Concerns about symmetry or order
- Feeling uneasy or that something is “just not right”
- Going to great lengths to avoid situations or objects that trigger symptoms
- Feeling anxious, distressed, or overwhelmed by obsessive thoughts or compulsive behaviors
People who experience symptoms of OCD might try to suppress or ignore intrusive thoughts or urges by performing repetitive acts. For example, someone might have obsessive thoughts and fears about germs that cause them significant anxiety. To relieve these feelings, they might clean excessively or wash their hands a certain number of times. These obsessions and compulsions can take up hours of someone’s day and affect their relationships, jobs, and physical health if left untreated.
Not all repetitive behaviors and intrusive thoughts are indicative of OCD. Some people who have OCD may have more invasive thoughts, while others practice more compulsive behaviors. If you or someone you know is struggling with symptoms of OCD, it is important to seek help from a professional like those who provide care at Life Healing Center.
Causes of & Risk Factors for OCD
The exact causes of obsessive-compulsive disorder are not yet fully known. However, research suggests that a combination of genetic, environmental, behavioral, and neurobiological factors may contribute to the development of OCD. According to the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5):
- OCD tends to run in families, indicating a genetic predisposition. People who have a first-degree relative who has OCD are at significantly increased risk for developing the disorder.
- Brain imaging studies have found differences in brain structure and activity in people who have OCD.
- Traumatic life events, such as abuse, illness, and loss, may trigger the onset of OCD symptoms in some people.
- Some people who have OCD may have learned to associate certain behaviors or thoughts with anxiety and may engage in compulsive behaviors to alleviate those feelings.
- Many people who have OCD have dysfunctional beliefs about their sense of responsibility in the world and tend to overestimate threats.
- Some people find that negative or excessive involvement of family or friends can contribute to or worsen symptoms of OCD.
- People who have other mental health conditions, such as depression, anxiety disorders, and tic disorders, are at increased risk for developing OCD.
- Substance abuse, particularly the abuse of stimulants, can trigger or worsen OCD symptoms.
It’s important to note that while these factors may increase the risk for developing OCD, not everyone who has these risk factors will develop the disorder. OCD is a complex condition, and often, childhood trauma can contribute to its development. A thorough evaluation by a trauma-informed mental health professional, like one of the team members at Life Healing Center, is necessary for a person to receive an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.
Effects of Untreated OCD
If obsessive-compulsive disorder is not treated, it can significantly impair a person’s quality of life and cause significant distress and disability. OCD symptoms can worsen over time and become more severe and difficult to manage. Potential effects of untreated OCD may include:
- Interference with daily life, including work, school, or social activities
- Regularly being late for important commitments due to the time lost from obsessive thoughts or compulsive behaviors
- Feelings of guilt and shame about thoughts and behaviors, leading to further distress and isolation
- Job loss, financial problems, or difficulty maintaining relationships
- Depression and anxiety
- Substance abuse to cope with any distressing symptoms of OCD
- Physical health problems such as heart disease, digestive problems, and chronic pain as a result of persistent stress and anxiety
- Suicidal thoughts or behaviors in some people, particularly those who have severe symptoms and co-occurring mental health conditions
It is essential to seek professional help if you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of OCD. With proper treatment, people who have obsessive-compulsive disorder can learn to effectively manage their symptoms and improve their quality of life.
It is important to note that the treatment of OCD is highly individualized, and what works for one person may not work for another. The mental health professionals at Life Healing Center can help determine the most appropriate treatment plan to address your specific symptoms.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), obsessive-compulsive disorder affects approximately 1.2% of adults in the United States, which totals an estimated 3.3 million people. Further statistics reveal:
- The median age of onset of OCD is 19 years old.
- 25% of OCD symptoms begin by age 14 in girls and age 10 in boys.
- The prevalence of OCD is slightly higher among females than among males.
- Many people who have OCD experience symptoms for many years before seeking treatment.
- Similar symptoms of excessive cleaning, intrusive thoughts, desiring symmetry, and severe anxiety are comparable in cases of OCD worldwide.
- OCD commonly co-occurs with other mental health conditions, such as anxiety disorders and depression.
This content was written on behalf of and reviewed by the clinical staff at Life Healing Center.