Footprints to Recovery, Mental Health Treatment Program in NJ

Life is about to get better.
Footprints to Recovery Mental Health New Jersey

What Causes OCD to Get Worse?

Written by Evan Gove

Footprints Mental Health

About Footprints

Questions about treatment?

Get confidential help 24/7. Reach out for more details about:
  • How we can help
  • Our location & programs
  • Insurance & payment options
Call 888-903-4385
Start Healing Your Mind, Body, & Spirit
Find Out How

Mental Health Conditions

Common Questions About Mental Health
Check Out Our FAQ
Verify Your Insurance

Looking for effective treatment that’s also affordable? We accept most major insurance providers. Get a free insurance benefits check now.

Check Your Coverage​

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a complex mental health condition that can exhibit fluctuations in severity over time. Various factors can contribute to worsening OCD symptoms, including genetic predisposition, environmental triggers, and neurobiological imbalances. Stressful life events, trauma, or major changes can also exacerbate OCD. Lack of proper treatment or not adhering to therapy strategies, such as EMDR or DBT, can lead to symptom escalation. Certain medications, like Lexapro, can be effective in managing OCD, but individual responses vary. Engaging in compulsive behaviors, like cleaning or checking, may inadvertently reinforce the condition. For some, OCD can evolve into specific forms, such as harm OCD, intensifying distress. Recognizing these triggers and seeking support from an experienced OCD therapist is crucial to effectively manage and reduce symptoms.

What Is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder?

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a debilitating mental health condition characterized by persistent and intrusive thoughts (obsessions) and repetitive behaviors or mental acts (compulsions). These compulsions are often performed in an attempt to alleviate the distress caused by obsessions. OCD can significantly impair daily functioning, quality of life, and overall well-being.

Facts and Stats on OCD:

  • OCD affects people of all ages, genders, and backgrounds worldwide.
  • It’s estimated that around 2-3% of the global population is affected by OCD.
  • The disorder often begins in childhood, adolescence, or early adulthood.
  • OCD can manifest in various forms, including contamination fears, symmetry obsessions, and harm-related thoughts.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-V) outlines specific criteria for diagnosing OCD:

  • Presence of obsessions, compulsions, or both.
  • The obsessions and compulsions cause significant distress or interfere with daily functioning.
  • The individual recognizes that the obsessions or compulsions are excessive or unreasonable.
  • The obsessions or compulsions are time-consuming, taking up more than an hour a day.
  • Symptoms are not due to another medical condition or substance use.

Diagnosis often involves a thorough assessment by a mental health professional, such as a psychiatrist or psychologist. A detailed clinical interview and evaluation of the individual’s symptoms, history, and impact on functioning are essential for an accurate diagnosis. Proper diagnosis and timely intervention, which may include therapy and medication, are crucial in effectively managing and alleviating the distress associated with OCD.

Looking For Mental Health Treatment?

Get confidential help from our mental health counselors in New Jersey. Call to join our outpatient program today!
Speak With Our Admissions Team

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of OCD? 

Recognizing the signs and symptoms of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is essential for early intervention and effective management. OCD is characterized by a cycle of distressing obsessions and compulsions, which can vary widely among individuals. Some common signs and symptoms to look for include:

Intrusive Thoughts (Obsessions):

  • Persistent and unwanted thoughts, images, or urges.
  • Fears of harming oneself or others, contamination, or moral concerns.
  • Doubts about safety or performing tasks correctly.

Compulsive Behaviors:

  • Repeatedly performing certain actions, such as handwashing, checking, or counting.
  • Following rigid rituals to reduce anxiety.
  • Needing things to be symmetrical or in a specific order.

Impact on Daily Life:

  • Spending significant time and energy on obsessions and compulsions, often over an hour daily.
  • Difficulty in concentrating on tasks due to intrusive thoughts and rituals.
  • Interference with work, school, relationships, and social activities.

Emotional Distress:

  • Feelings of intense anxiety, fear, guilt, or disgust.
  • Temporary relief from distress after performing compulsions.

Avoidance Behavior:

  • Avoiding situations that trigger obsessions or provoke anxiety.
  • Changes in routines and lifestyle to minimize triggers.

It’s important to note that OCD varies in severity and presentation. Some individuals may experience primarily obsessions, while others primarily engage in compulsive behaviors. A professional assessment by an OCD therapist or mental health provider is crucial for an accurate diagnosis and effective treatment. Early intervention can prevent symptoms from worsening and can help individuals regain control over their lives. Treatment options may include therapy modalities, medications, or a combination of both.

Footprints to Recovery Mental Health provides outpatient treatment programs in New Jersey.

Learn more about where to find our mental health services in New Jersey!
View Our Mental Health Facility

What Causes OCD to Get Worse?

Certain factors can exacerbate OCD symptoms, potentially making the condition more challenging to manage. While each person’s experience is unique, several factors can contribute to the worsening of OCD symptoms:

Stress and Anxiety: High stress and anxiety levels can trigger or intensify OCD symptoms. Stressful life events, major changes, or traumatic experiences may worsen obsessions and compulsions.

Lack of Treatment: Without appropriate treatment from an OCD therapist or mental health professional, symptoms can escalate over time. Effective therapeutic interventions, such as EMDR, or DBT, can help manage symptoms and prevent deterioration.

Substance Use: Substance abuse, including alcohol and drugs, can exacerbate OCD symptoms and interfere with treatment effectiveness. It’s crucial to address substance use alongside OCD treatment.

Isolation: Social isolation and limited support networks can lead to increased anxiety and depression, worsening OCD symptoms.

Negative Coping Strategies: Engaging in avoidance behaviors, compulsions, or rituals as a way to cope with distress can reinforce the cycle of OCD and make symptoms worse.

Life Changes: Significant life changes, such as moving, starting a new job, or relationship changes, can trigger OCD symptoms or make existing symptoms more pronounced.

Lack of Understanding: Misunderstanding OCD or attempting to suppress or ignore intrusive thoughts can contribute to increased anxiety and symptom severity.

Addressing these factors through appropriate therapy, medication, and support is crucial to managing OCD effectively. Collaborating with an OCD therapist and developing healthy coping strategies can significantly improve quality of life and reduce symptom severity.

How Is OCD Treated?

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is commonly treated through a combination of psychotherapies and medications. Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a highly effective psychotherapy for OCD. ERP involves gradually exposing individuals to their obsessions and preventing the corresponding compulsive behaviors, helping to reduce anxiety and break the OCD cycle. Medications, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), can also be prescribed to manage OCD symptoms by regulating neurotransmitters.

Several medications are commonly used to treat Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Some of these include:

  • Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs): SSRIs are a class of antidepressants that help regulate serotonin levels in the brain. They are often the first-line treatment for OCD and have been shown to reduce the severity of obsessive and compulsive symptoms.
  • Tricyclic Antidepressants (TCAs): TCAs are another type of antidepressant that may be used to treat OCD when SSRIs are not effective. They work by impacting various neurotransmitters in the brain.
  • Serotonin-Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors (SNRIs): SNRIs are a class of antidepressants that affect both serotonin and norepinephrine levels. They may also be considered as an alternative treatment option for OCD.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is commonly treated through a combination of psychotherapies and medications. The synergy between therapy and medication often provides the best outcomes. A qualified mental health professional, like an OCD therapist or psychiatrist, will tailor the treatment plan to each individual’s needs, aiming to alleviate distress and enhance daily functioning. 

It’s important to note that medication should always be prescribed and monitored by a qualified healthcare professional, such as a psychiatrist. The choice of medication and dosage will depend on the individual’s specific symptoms, medical history, and response to treatment.

OCD Treatment at Footprints to Recovery Mental Health

At Footprints to Recovery Mental Health, we offer comprehensive treatment options for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Our programs encompass a range of care levels, including Intensive Outpatient (IOP), Outpatient, and Aftercare. Our experienced team of professionals provides evidence-based therapies, including Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT), tailored to each individual’s needs. Our holistic approach addresses both mental and emotional aspects, promoting healing and recovery. We are dedicated to guiding individuals through their OCD journey, helping them regain control, and improving their overall well-being.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Read More About Mental Health

More Resources

If you'd like to keep reading, we've prepared some pages that we think you'll find helpful.

Get Started

Our team of mental health professionals is here to give you all of the information you need to help you make an informed decision for your health and happiness.

Contact us today if you are ready to begin your journey to mental wellness. Our team is available around the clock, so feel free to call us at any time.