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4 Types of OCD and What to Do About Them

Nearly 7 million American adults have obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), which is a type of anxiety that triggers persistent obsessions and compulsions. Often negative and distressing, compulsions can quickly inhibit your ability to participate fully in everyday life. 

Everyone has recurring thoughts and actions from time to time, but for people with OCD, certain thoughts and actions can be uncontrollable and unwanted. There’s often a component of fear linked to the compulsions. For example, you may think that if you don’t continually check that you’ve turned off the oven, a fire could start.

Traditional treatments for OCD include talk therapy and medication, but medication can take weeks or months to build up in your system. At Ketamine Integrative Medicine, in Gilbert, Arizona, Annette Lusko, DO, and our team offer ketamine therapy as an alternative treatment for OCD.

Four main categories of OCD

Since OCD still isn’t well-understood, there aren’t formal classifications for different types. However, there are generally four main categories. Understanding how OCD presents in your life is the first step to finding treatment that works.

Compulsion to check

This type of OCD involves the compulsion to check and recheck that you’ve done something, such as making sure the lights are off or the doors are locked. If you have this type of OCD, checking once isn’t enough, and you might feel compelled to check hundreds of times without feeling like the situation is resolved.

The compulsion to repeatedly check things is often motivated by fear. People with this type of OCD often suffer from thoughts about all the negative things that could happen if they don’t check things repeatedly.

Compulsion to clean

This type of OCD centers on the fear of contamination. The fear of germs and the compulsion to clean your house or wash your hands excessively is a common example of OCD.

The compulsion to clean or avoid areas that may have germs is often fueled by the fear of contamination. People with this type of OCD may participate in cleaning rituals that can take hours each day and impact their ability to carry out daily activities.

Intrusive thoughts

Intrusive thoughts are classified as a type of OCD, but this type often has no outward signs or behaviors like other types can have. Intrusive thoughts are frequent, unbidden thoughts that may be disturbing or repugnant in nature.

Everyone has unwanted thoughts pop into their minds now and then, but people suffering from intrusive thoughts can experience them more often. People with intrusive thoughts can also have more extreme reactions to the thoughts, and they may suffer extreme distress despite the fact that they would never actually act on the thoughts.

Symmetry and ordering

This type of OCD is the need to arrange and rearrange items until they’re symmetrical or lined up in a certain order. What constitutes the “right” order may be arbitrary, but not having things in the order they see as correct can cause intense feelings of discomfort and the fear that something bad could happen.

With ordering, some people may experience the compulsion to count things, whether it’s steps, items, or something else. They may feel uncomfortable if they don’t reach the “right” number, but the “right” number is often arbitrary.

Ketamine therapy for OCD

Each person who experiences OCD can have different symptoms, and the condition can range widely in severity. If you have the condition, Dr. Lusko will partner with you to find a treatment plan.

Ketamine therapy offers promise for OCD sufferers who haven’t found adequate treatment with other methods. We generally recommend a series of treatments for the best results, with many patients receiving 4-6 treatments weekly for about one month.

Getting ketamine infusions for OCD can provide clarity of mind and allow you to focus on therapy and managing your condition. An infusion takes about 45 minutes, and any side effects — such as tingling or mild hallucinations — should dissipate shortly after the infusion ends.

If just getting by is no longer good enough, you should learn more about the benefits of ketamine therapy for OCD. To learn more, book an appointment online or over the phone with Ketamine Integrative Medicine today.

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