Treatment for OCD

Treatment for OCD

Obsessive compulsive disorder, more commonly referred to as OCD, is a common chronic illness. According to Beyond OCD, it affects one out of every 40 adults in the world. The World Health Organization puts OCD in the top 20 of illness-related disabilities in the world. This makes it one of the most common illnesses for people between the ages of 15 and 44, and it affects millions of individuals worldwide. Thankfully, there are a number of treatment options available for people who suffer from OCD.

What Is OCD?

Before learning how to treat obsessive compulsive disorder, it’s important to understand this disorder. The American Psychiatric Association lists it as an anxiety disorder that causes recurring and unwanted thoughts or sensations. As a result, individuals feel driven to engage in repetitive behaviors or compulsions.

The repetitive behaviors differ depending on the individual but can range from repeated hand washing to obsessive cleaning. In some cases, these compulsions are nothing more than annoying. Other times, they interfere with daily life and normal social interactions.

Some common compulsions for people with OCD include:

  • Cleaning — People with OCD clean to alleviate their fear of germs, chemicals or dirt. Some spend hours cleaning their surroundings or themselves.
  • Checking — To reduce anxiety, some people check items multiple times. One example is continually checking that a door is locked or a stovetop is turned off.
  • Repeating — People with OCD may repeat certain actions to dispel anxiety. This might include repeating certain behaviors or even saying a certain phrase or name repeatedly.
  • Mental compulsions — Some OCD compulsions aren’t as noticeable because they occur in people’s minds. For instance, they might say phrases within their heads or silently pray.
  • Arranging or organizing — It’s not uncommon for people with OCD to arrange or organize items to reduce their discomfort. This might include putting household items in a certain order or in a symmetric fashion.

What Causes OCD?

Despite a wealth of knowledge about obsessive compulsive disorder, experts still don’t know for sure what causes it. Some believe that the answer to what causes OCD lies in neurobiology. The reason is that studies show that the brains of people who have OCD function differently than those who don’t.

Others believe that OCD has to do with genetics, which is why they refer to it as a family disorder. The disease has the ability to span or skip generations. With that said, those who have a history of OCD in their families are more likely to struggle with the disorder as well.

On the other hand, some experts say that environmental or behavioral elements lead to OCD. This style of thinking links the disorder with associating certain objects with fear. For example, maybe people link certain objects with germs, at which point they’re compelled to clean those objects repeatedly.

In other cases, traumatic brain injury can lead to the development of OCD. Studies show that children and teens who suffer TBIs are more likely to develop OCD in young adulthood. In fact, nearly 30% of children who experience TBI develop OCD within a year after the trauma.

To determine whether or not people have OCD, they have to meet certain diagnostic criteria. These typically include the presence of compulsions, obsessions or both. The compulsions or obsessions must also be time-consuming or significantly impact their lives. Additionally, it’s essential to rule out the chance that their symptoms are the result of other psychological effects from using substances or drugs.

How to Treat OCD

No one treatment for OCD works for everyone. Further still, there’s no cure for the disorder. However, teaching individuals how to manage obsessive compulsive disorder can help them manage their symptoms. In fact, the goal of treatment is to help them live normal lives or control their symptoms so that they no longer negatively affect their lives.

Some of the most common OCD treatments include:

  • Psychotherapy.
  • Relaxation.
  • Medication.
  • Neuromodulation.
  • Transcranial magnetic stimulation.

Oftentimes, the first approach to treating OCD is psychotherapy. Using cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), therapists attempt to change people’s thought patterns. One approach is for therapists to create situations that are specifically designed to cause anxiety. As people learn that there’s no reason to fear those situations, their anxiety declines, which reduces their compulsive behaviors.

Other times, people find that simple relaxation is enough to lessen their OCD urges. Engaging in programs such as yoga, meditation or massage is enough to manage their OCD.

However, these methods alone aren’t always enough. Because of that, some people rely on medications to even out their thoughts. In most cases, they take serotonin reuptake inhibitors. These medications control or limit their obsessions and compulsions. Such drugs can take up to four months to start working fully.


For many people, TMS is the best treatment for OCD. The sessions typically only last about 18 minutes and involve using magnetic waves to activate specific sections of the brain.

While undergoing TMS, people don’t need any form of anesthesia. Instead, a simple electromagnetic coil is placed on their foreheads. Through this coil, electromagnetic pulses are passed through the skull to stimulate the brain. This stimulation regulates mood, which helps with anxiety.

TMS is completely safe. In fact, the Food and Drug Administration cleared its use in 2008 to treat people who struggle with depression. Since then, studies have discovered that TMS can treat people who struggle with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder and OCD.

One of the best things about TMS treatment is that there are little to no side effects. The most common side effect is a headache, and it only occurs in about half of the people who receive TMS treatment. In most cases, the headaches are mild and go away before the treatment is even over. Simple over-the-counter medications can combat the headaches.

How is OCD, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder treated? If you or a loved one are struggling with depression or OCD, you will want to read further to find out how Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) can help. Especially if your issue of depression or OCD has been resistant to treatment, this may be what you are seeking. You can now find this OCD treatment in Southern California.

TMS treatment for OCD is non-invasive and is an approved therapeutic approach.

What is OCD?

Known as Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, this manifests as unwanted thoughts and behaviors that occur repeatedly in a person. Obsessions, or unwanted ideas, drive the person to act repetitively. According to the American Psychiatric Association, these repetitive actions cause distress and may interfere with daily life. Even though the person knows that their thoughts and actions are not realistic, they are powerless to stop the behaviors.

Some Manifestations of OCD and Depression

Everyone has a bit of obsession at some time in their life, but these issues do not cause a problem. What are some of the behaviors of OCD? Obsessions can materialize as the following:

  • Fear of being contaminated
  • Disturbing sexual images and thoughts
  • Concern with symmetry, order, and precision to an extreme
  • Fear of yelling out insults and obscenities inappropriately
  • Recurrent thoughts, sounds, and words that intrude
  • Fear of losing something important

The manner in which these obsessions are alleviated revolve around the compulsive acts that will, in the mind of the person, free them. These compulsions may include the following:

  • Repeated cleaning of household objects
  • Excessive handwashing as a ritual as well as other self-care rituals
  • Arranging repeatedly so things appear in a certain way
  • Checking locks, switches, or appliances repeatedly
  • Needing constant approval
  • Counting repeatedly to a specific number

Compulsions may interfere with the daily life of the person with OCD, as they need to fulfill these actions that may take up a lot of their time. This can interfere with home life, work, or school, causing distress for family and friends as well.

Depression is a serious disorder of mood which may affect how you eat, think, or do your daily activities. Symptoms must be present for at least two weeks for it to be diagnosed. A person may feel empty, anxious, or sad as well as have feelings of guilt, hopelessness, and pessimism. These can lead to thoughts of suicide and physical problems.

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation and Other Methods of Treatment

Talk therapy has been used for both OCD and depression. However, sometimes cases are treatment-resistant; this is where TMS may help. TMS for depression has been proven to have benefits.

Treatment for OCD includes therapy and TMS, which may complement traditional therapy.

We can help you or a loved one overcome depression and OCD. In addition to other treatments, TMS and the staff at Pulse are here to aid in your recovery. Contact us at 310.878.4346 with your questions and concerns. OCD treatment in Southern California is now available and convenient.

Updated content on 03/18/21