fbpx Skip to main content

OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) Treatment

Refresh Recovery OCD treatment in San Diego is a compassionate and human-centered approach to mental health disorders.

Reducing the stigma and engaging with evidence-based tools to sustain recovery from obsessive-compulsive disorders is an artwork we love to share.

OCD is a clinical disorder that affects between 1 and 2% of the population. It is a debilitating and paralyzing mental health disorder. People with OCD experience intensely negative, repetitive, and intrusive thoughts and a chronic feeling of doubt or danger (obsessions). They often repeat an action repeatedly (compulsions) to quell the idea or turn off the anxiety. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder makes you stuck in a cycle of distressing obsessions and compulsions.

At Refresh Recovery, we provide evidence-based treatment in San Diego for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorders. We want to know your needs and objectives and create a sustainable approach to transition with the tools needed to thrive positively.

OCD Treatment

What is OCD

ocd food disorder cutting board veggies mental health obsession

Treatment OCD at Refresh Recovery

One of the most significant challenges faced by people with OCD is the need to fight both the all-pervasive stigma of mental health disorders and the widely held belief that OCD is a superficial or even quirky problem that does not go beyond excessive hand washing.

Many people now use the term OCD-ish without understanding the serious nature of the disorder in its acute versions.

Despite all this, there is an average delay of more than 11 years between the onset of OCD and receiving treatment. This happens because of the fear of being institutionalized, the stigma associated with mental health disorders, or the belief that no one can help them. This decade of pointless misery and isolation was brought about by a condition that could be successfully managed.

OCD does not just affect the individual with the disorder but draws in their friends and families, employers, and colleagues. OCD rituals can take a massive toll on family life and drive a wedge between parents and children, husbands and wives who often feel unable to acknowledge the pain a loved one is experiencing, let alone how to support them.

What is OCD?

OCD is a debilitating and misunderstood condition, so much so that many hide it for years or decades.

It’s much more common than initially thought, with estimates between 1-2% of the population. The good news is that OCD is a treatable condition, with therapy and medication available to help with management and recovery.

 Obsessive thoughts

Obsessions happen when you become overly preoccupied with intrusive thoughts, misinterpreting them as indicators of risk and responsibility.

Intrusive thoughts are random and automatic images, worries, or feelings everyone experiences as part of being human. They result from the brain constantly scanning for danger or interest and hold no meaning. They are hypothetical, so most people describe them with the phrase What if… 

If you have OCD, obsessions around one or more themes cause you to notice those intrusive thoughts and become very anxious and distressed. These random thoughts feel more and more meaningful and come on more often and loudly through attention and preoccupation. What defines an obsession is that you cannot let go of your worry until you feel entirely sure that it is faced. Any uncertainty or doubt around it feels unbearable.

Obsessions are always about unwanted or feared things and make you feel responsible for resolving the issue, preventing harm, and finding the answer.

man stress with working job at laptop desk major of depressive disorder obsessive compulsive treating rehabilitation
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Its Effects

More on OCD

Compulsions are behaviors that a person with OCD takes part in to relieve obsessions and anxiety.

These can take any form, like obsessions, and the OCD cycle will be the same no matter what they look like. The actions or rituals most associated with OCD are visible, such as hoarding, checking, cleaning, or arranging things. Most people with OCD, though, also experience mental or invisible compulsions such as:

  • Rumination (going over and over thoughts in your mind, possibly trying to rationalize or disprove them)
  • Checking thoughts or memories
  • Asking for reassurance from others
  • Avoiding situations or people that bring on intrusive feelings
  • Neutralizing a wrong idea with a good one
  • You might feel a need to ask for relief or get people to check things for you
  • Recovery begins with recognizing the symptoms and acquiring tools for interventions and healthy coping mechanisms provided at Refresh Treatment.
  • In the case of dual diagnosis with other mental health disorders, such as depression or substance use disorders, approaches for both diseases are attended to individually for awareness and effective treatment.


Compulsions can have a seemingly logical connection to the topic of someone’s obsessions, like hiding knives because of a fear of stabbing someone. They can also be completely unrelated, like wearing matching clothes to reduce the likelihood of one’s house burning down. It helps to remember that a feeling of responsibility and doubt drives compulsions, not logic. Even if the compulsion seems logical, the person will not stop until they have fulfilled a specific requirement or feel exactly right. This might take several hours into the ritual. No matter how rational or irrational someone’s worries or safety behaviors seem, logic will not break the cycle.

Causes of OCD

Like many other conditions, OCD is a mix of genes, psychological factors, and life experiences.

Psychological – Individual tendencies like being vulnerable to stress and anxiety, feeling overly responsible, or a sense of perfectionism could be tied into why a person gets so stuck in the OCD cycle.

Environmental—The experiences and societal values someone is exposed to can inform assumptions or pressures that become part of the person’s OCD cycle.

OCD Symptoms

Sometimes, when our mind is filled with very upsetting thoughts, we can try to take actions that will bring us relief and make the thoughts go away. We might start believing that these actions will eliminate our anxiety or make these thoughts disappear. Sometimes, having rituals that calm us down helps. But when these rituals or habits become ‘compulsions,’ we think we must do them. We might start to believe that if we do not do them, something terrible will happen to the people around us.

With OCD, our compulsive habits or rituals often make us feel worse. This is because anxious thoughts rush back again once the pattern is finished, sometimes even more extreme. This is how some people get trapped in a cycle of doing the same action repeatedly, unable to stop.

OCD rituals can be evident to others (like checking if doors are locked) or happen inside your head (like counting things or trying to counteract negative thoughts with positive ones).

There is a misconception that ‘being OCD’ is just about being tidy and ordered. Wrong!

OCD thoughts can come in all shapes and sizes and involve different habits and rituals. They often revolve around things like danger, dirt, pollution, or worries about sexuality and religion. Some people feel guilty or even ashamed of their thoughts. Substance use disorders, also known as addiction, like drinking, cause extra shame and guilt on top of the physical and cognitive effects.

More on OCD

Previous definitions of obsessive-compulsive disorder included that some people might experience only obsessions or compulsions. It is now better understood that all people living with OCD experience both, albeit in less obvious ways.
Someone might perform compulsions not directly triggered by intrusive thoughts or obsessions, but this is because the brain’s cycle is becoming more automatic. In these cases, the focus is no longer a fear of harm, for example, but a fear of the harm-based intrusive thoughts in themselves (obsessing about obsessing). In this case, the compulsions’ goal is not to relieve anxiety but to avoid it coming up at all.

Triggers and Impact

Even though OCD ranges from mild to extreme, each person’s distress is genuine. Everyone experiences obsessions and compulsions occasionally, but for the experience to be labeled a disorder, it must cause pain and noticeably impact the person’s quality of life.

The irrationality of the cycle gets confusing and horrifying. When someone lives with OCD, they do not experience their worries and rituals as quirks or annoyances, as they might look outside. The intensity of the anxiety and doubt felt on the inside is debilitating, exhausting, and chronic. Furthermore, it can feel ashamed and isolated or like you are losing touch with reality.

People with OCD tend to hide symptoms because they are embarrassed about their irrational worries and behaviors and fear that their intrusive thoughts might be misunderstood. Being aware of what is rational and what is not does not help reduce the anxiety of the OCD cycle, but it allows them to choose what they show to others.

You might stick to invisible compulsions around other people as much as possible, have an easier time holding back while you are out, and then get overwhelmed by anxiety and the need for compulsions when you get home. OCD is often called the ‘hidden’ or ‘secret’ condition, and people who struggle with it might even wait decades before seeking any support. Victims are told there is no help available or just need to learn to live with it.

Some disorders related to an obsessive-compulsive disorder, like body dysmorphic disorder, hoarding disorder, social anxiety disorder, excoriation disorder, or trichotillomania, are considered separate disorders that require different and specific treatment.

Treating OCD in San Diego

If obsessive thoughts and habits start to take over your life, let us provide a personalized program at Refresh Recovery. There are reliable and proven treatments available for OCD and other mental health disorders such as depression, bipolar, social anxiety, and PTSD. Recovery is possible with caring and knowledgeable mental health professionals in the most aesthetic environment.

Contact Us
Skip to content