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What Is OCD?

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a mental health disorder that affects people of all ages and walks of life, and occurs when a person gets caught in a cycle of obsessions and compulsions.

Obsessions are Unwanted

Obsessions are unwanted, intrusive thoughts, images or urges that trigger intensely distressing feelings. Compulsions are behaviors an individual engages in to attempt to get rid of the obsessions and/or decrease his or her distress. 

Most people have obsessive thoughts and/or compulsive behaviors at some point in their lives, but that does not mean that we all have “some OCD.”

In order for a diagnosis of obsessive compulsive disorder to be made, this cycle of obsessions and compulsions becomes so extreme that it consumes a lot of time and gets in the way of important activities that the person values.

Unfortunately, if you have OCD, feelings DO lie. 

Unfortunately, if you have OCD, feelings do lie.  If you have OCD, the warning system in your brain is not working correctly.  Your brain is telling you that you are in danger when you are not. When scientists compare pictures of the brains of groups of people with OCD, they can see that some areas of the brain are different than the brains of people who don’t have OCD. If you have OCD, you are desperately trying to get away from paralyzing, unending anxiety.

What exactly are

obsessions and compulsions?



Obsessions are thoughts, images or impulses that occur over and over again and feel outside of the person’s control. Individuals with OCD do not want to have these thoughts and find them disturbing.


In most cases, people with OCD realize that these thoughts don’t make any sense.  Obsessions are typically accompanied by intense and uncomfortable feelings such as fear, disgust, doubt, or a feeling that things have to be done in a way that is “just right.”


In the context of OCD, obsessions are time consuming and get in the way of important activities the person values. This last part is extremely important to keep in mind as it, in part, determines whether someone has OCD — a psychological disorder — rather than an obsessive personality trait.

Compulsions are the second part of obsessive compulsive disorder. These are repetitive behaviors or thoughts that a person uses with the intention of neutralizing, counteracting, or making their obsessions go away.


People with OCD realize this is only a temporary solution but without a better way to cope they rely on the compulsion as a temporary escape. Compulsions can also include avoiding situations that trigger obsessions. Compulsions are time consuming and get in the way of important activities the person values.

Individuals with OCD feel driven to engage in compulsive behavior and would rather not have to do these time consuming and many times torturous acts. In OCD, compulsive behavior is done with the intention of trying to escape or reduce anxiety or the presence of obsessions.

Some Common Obsessions in OCD

  • Contamination

  • Losing Control (Fear of acting on an impulse)

  • Harm (being responsible for something terrible happening)

  • Obsessions Related to Perfectionism

  • Unwanted Sexual Thoughts

  • Religious Obsessions (Scrupulosity)

  • Concern with Getting a Physical Illness or Disease

  • Superstitious Ideas about Lucky/Unlucky Numbers

  • Certain Colors

Some Common Compulsions in OCD

  • Washing and Cleaning

  • Checking

  • Repeating (Rereading or Rewriting,
    Repeating Routine Activities)

  • Mental Compulsions (Counting, Praying, Undoing)

  • Feels Right Compulsions
    (Order or Arranging Things until it “Feels Right”)

  • Avoiding (Situations that might trigger your obsessions).

  • Seeking Reassurance

Dr. Patricia Wicks
Rod Burger
Chris Wicks
Adolescents & Children
Call Today
Wicks Psychological Services
 (402) 339 - 7991 
6550 South 84th 

Suite 300 
Omaha, NE  68127





Wicks Psychological Services
 (402) 339 - 7991 
6550 South 84th 

Suite 300 
Omaha, NE  68127

The most effective treatments for OCD are Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) and medication. CBT treatment includes Exposure and Response Prevention (E/RP), which has the strongest evidence supporting its use in the treatment of OCD.


Dr. Patricia Wicks and Chris Wicks are highly trained in using CBT and E/RP. They both received advanced training from the Behavior Therapy Training Institute (BTTI); which is advanced specialized training for OCD.

Medications can only be prescribed by a licensed medical professional (such as your physician or a psychiatrist). If you are interested in medication, your therapist can work together with your doctor to develop a treatment plan. Taken together, ER/P and medication are considered the “first-line” treatments for OCD.

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