Adult and Child Psychiatrist located in Lancaster, PA


Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) can be incredibly disruptive to normal daily routines and can make your life feel very restricted. Working with board-certified adult and child psychiatrist Sarah Gatumu, MD, of New Direction Functional Psychiatry in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, offers a path toward lasting relief. When you’re ready to get started, book a visit online or by phone.


What is obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)?

Obsessive-compulsive disorder is a mental health disorder characterized by unwanted and recurring thoughts. 


Obsessions are impulses or thoughts that individuals do not want and cannot control. These thoughts are often accompanied by feelings of fear, doubt, and disgust. People with OCD often understand that obsessive thoughts are not logical. 


A compulsion is a behavior or action that a person feels compelled to perform as a result of obsessive thoughts. Performing the action can temporarily relieve the emotional distress caused by an obsessive thought. 

In America, people often refer to OCD in a casual manner. In reality, this condition is incredibly disruptive to those who suffer from OCD.  

What are some signs I might have OCD?

Understanding the symptoms of OCD can help you know when to take action for yourself or a loved one. Some of the indications of this mental health disorder include:

  • Extreme worry that things are unfinished, out of order, or in disarray
  • Need to compulsively clean one’s environment or body
  • Feeling as if one has forgotten something
  • Need to repeatedly check locks, appliances, or doors
  • Disturbing thoughts or unwanted images regarding sexual activity
  • Pervasive worries about sexual harm to oneself or others

These are just some of the ways that OCD can manifest. Anyone who is troubled by unwanted thoughts, repetitive actions, or behaviors that do not seem “normal” should reach out for a diagnostic assessment. 

Are there treatments that can help improve OCD?

Treatment can go a long way toward reducing the symptoms of OCD. At New Direction Functional Psychiatry, a comprehensive psychiatric evaluation is the first step. This process provides an opportunity for you to share the details of your experience and discuss your personal and family health history. 

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is an approach that helps you learn how to respond to stressful thoughts with appropriate behavior. Your practitioner exposes you to images or situations that provoke obsessive thoughts. In a safe and supportive setting, you work to avoid performing compulsive behaviors as you build stronger coping skills. 

Medication can also help treat OCD by using selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) drugs to help control obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors. It takes time to find the right dosage and to learn how your body will react to drug therapy. 

If you need help managing OCD, reach out to New Direction Functional Psychiatry online or by phone to book a visit.