OCD 101 – A Therapist’s Assessment

I had an opportunity to see a new client last week.  The individual was excited to begin, and so was I.  However, when I began the assessment I quickly learned that the client was not experiencing OCD symptoms, but rather generalized anxiety.  

Here’s how I knew: 

  1. Obsessive – Compulsive Disorder is not logical.  Often the behaviour (compulsions) or thoughts (obsessions) do not make sense to the person who is suffering.  Obsessive thoughts are very scary. By contrast, someone with generalized anxiety disorder experiences worries about real – life concerns. 
  2. Compulsions are central to OCD.  The obsessive thoughts create so much fear that the person suffering from OCD will do just about anything to reduce the distress.  Compulsions can be mental or behavioural and occur anytime, anywhere.  Someone with generalized anxiety disorder develops safety behaviours that are only used in specific situations. 
  3. Obsessions are not every day worries.  Obsessions do not decrease on their own, even with rituals.  Everyday worries as of those with generalized anxiety come and go on their own. 

Obsessive- Compulsive Disorder affects 350,000 Ontarians.  You are not alone.  Help is available. 

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