Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: Having repeated, unwanted thoughts or images that feel out of your control. These thoughts may bring on intense feelings of anxiety, disgust, fear, or guilt, and lead to time-consuming rituals in an effort to feel better. Obsessions include, but are not limited to, contamination, losing control, feelings of responsibility, moral concerns with right/wrong, and order/perfection. Rituals, or compulsions, may include reassurance seeking, washing, checking, cleaning, mental compulsions, and repetitive behaviors. Some individuals feel embarrassed by these thoughts and behaviors, and will often keep them a secret from friends and/or family members. Nevertheless, these symptoms can take a negative toll on a person's daily functioning, and prevent enjoyment of positive experiences.
Body Focused Repetitive Behaviors
Trichotillomania (Hair-Pulling): Recurrent hair pulling from parts of the body (scalp, eyebrows, eyelashes, pubic area, etc...), that results in noticeable hair loss, including the thinning of one's hair, as well as the surfacing of bald spots. This behavior often leads to the avoidance of certain people and places due to the accompanying shame and embarrassment one often experiences with this condition. Behaviors may also include ingesting the hair once pulled (trichophagia), which can lead to medical complications if not properly addressed.
Dermatillomania (Skin-Picking): Recurrent picking of the skin from ones fingers, face, or other parts of the body that can result in lesions, redness, and even pain. While some skin picking behaviors are common, individuals with Dermatillomania are markedly distressed by it, experience noticeable skin damage, feel unable to stop, and may avoid activities due to embarrassment and shame.
Panic Attacks: A sudden onset of intense anxiety, often accompanied by several of the following symptoms: rapid heart rate, shortness of breath, chest pain, sweating, a lump in your throat, the fear of losing control, among others. While a panic attack can present as a one-time occurrence, some individuals may live in continuous fear that another attack will strike. This can result in withdrawal from specific people, places, and once-enjoyable activities. The good news is that panic is a highly treatable condition!
Phobias: An intense fear of a specific situation, activity, or object. While you may find yourself avoiding triggers, some situations are more difficult to avoid, and can leave you with overwhelming anxiety when in their presence. Some individuals may structure their entire day around avoiding a trigger, and often miss out on meaningful experiences and opportunities. If you have a fear that you are ready to overcome, know that a highly effective treatment option is available.
Generalized Anxiety: Experiencing persistent worrisome thoughts that are not restricted to one situation or topic. You may find yourself worrying about how you will get through the day, whether you are doing a good-enough job at work or school, or the uncertainty of your future. You may worry about your relationships, household chores, financial concerns, or all of the above. Worrying can present as an "on edge" feeling, and go hand-in-hand with Self Doubt. You may begin to question yourself and your abilities, and whether you can handle life's challenges in front of you. Regardless of the situation, worrisome thoughts can become consuming, lead to feelings of depression, and impact your ability to focus on all the good there is around you.
Perfectionism: Holding yourself to uncomfortably high standards, where you either procrastinate on tasks in fear of making a mistake, or spend an excessive amount of time on projects in front of you, to the point where you can become mentally exhausted, anxious, and even encounter feelings of depression. Irritability can also strike when errors are made, or when you feel you are not living up to your expectations. While there is nothing wrong with wanting to do well and succeed, it is important to take a step back and ask whether your actions are affecting not only your own well-being, but your relationships with friends, family, and coworkers.
Social Anxiety: When public social encounters bring you anxiety. You may fear embarrassing yourself or those around you, being judged, or inadvertently offending someone. You may become overly concerned with how you look, act, speak, and behave in front of others, to the point where social situations are not enjoyable, feared, and ultimately avoided. The truth is, individuals who experience social anxiety do want to make friends and be included in groups; however, their anxiety, which is treatable, serves as a barrier.