I'm tired of being inside my head. I want to live out here, with you.

    - Colleen McCarty, Mounting the Whale

  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

    In contemporary culture, it is not uncommon to hear a person describing themselves as “OCD” when they have a minor compulsion—for instance, if they have to triple check if they’ve locked the door upon leaving the house, or whether the iron is turned off. But while some people may throw this term around casually, even jokingly, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is a serious and oftentimes debilitating condition that is no laughing matter.

    OCD is a condition in which people suffer from persistent unwanted thoughts (obsessions) and/or rituals (compulsions) which they find impossible to control. Many individuals have both obsessions and compulsions, but others have either one or the other. Symptoms of obsession include recurring intrusive thoughts that cause a high level of anxiety but seem impossible to ignore. These thoughts often have a theme running through them—for example, an individual may have a deep and persistent fear of dirt or germs, or an obsessive need for organization and symmetry.

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      Symptoms of compulsion, on the other hand, include a drive to perform repetitive behaviors in order to reduce obsessive thoughts or to prevent a perceived danger from coming to fruition. Compulsions also have themes that unite them: individuals may repeatedly wash their hands, follow rigid daily routines, or compulsively organize their things.

      Not uncommonly, a genetic test may help guide the evaluation and treatment of OCD, particularly when it is complex and treatment-resistant, as in the story of Janice.

      Symptoms of OCD can vary between people and change over the course of an individual’s life—and it can be difficult at times to distinguish between perfectionism and compulsion. If it seems like your obsessive thoughts or compulsions are holding you back from living your life fully—if they regularly diminish your experiences—then it may be time to consult with a psychiatrist. Our team is ready to help.

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      Our offices are conveniently accessible from the following communities:

      Maryland (MD):
      Bethesda 20814 - Bethesda 20816 - Bethesda 20817 - Chevy Chase 20815 - Colesville 20904 - Cabin John 20815 - Glen Echo 20812 - Gaithersburg 20855 - Gaithersburg 20877- Gaithersburg 20878 - Gaithersburg 20879 - Garrett Park 20896 - Kensington 20895 - Montgomery Village 20886 - Olney 20830 - Olney 20832 - Potomac 20854 - Potomac 20859 - Rockville 20850 - Rockville 20852 - Rockville 20853 - Silver Spring 20903 - Silver Spring 20905 - Silver Spring 20906 - Silver Spring 20910 - Takoma Park 20912 - Wheaton 20902

      Washington DC:
      Crestwood 20011- North Capitol Hill 20002 - Cathedral Heights 20016 - American University Park 20016 - Columbia Heights 20010 - Mount Pleasant 20010 - Downtown 20036 - Dupont Circle 20009 - Logan Circle 20005- Adams Morgan 20009 - Chevy Chase 20015 - Georgetown 20007 - Cleveland Park 20008 - Foggy Bottom 20037 - Rock Creek Park - Woodley Park 20008 - Tenleytown 20016

      Northern Virginia:
      McLean 22101- McLean 22102 - McLean 22106 - Great Falls 22066 - Arlington 22201 - Arlington 22202 - Arlington 22203 - Arlington 22205 - Falls Church 22041 - Vienna 22181 - Alexandria 22314