Mental Health & Addiction Specialists located in Milwaukee and Germantown, WI, Portland, OR, Boulder, CO, St Petersburg, FL, Pro Valley, AZ, Reno, NV and Sherian, WY


Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) causes obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors that can severely disrupt your life. At Trilogy Behavioral Health Services, experienced nurse practitioner Nikki Myles, NP, and the team of mental health professionals provide exemplary support for patients with OCD, including medication management and other holistic care. There are two main offices in Germantown and Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and additional telehealth offices in Reno, Nevada; Sheridan, Wyoming; Oro Valley, Arizona; St. Petersburg, Florida; Boulder, Colorado; and Portland, Oregon. Book an appointment online or call the office in your area today.


What are obsessions and compulsions in OCD?

Obsessions and compulsions are the two facets of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). 


Obsessions are thoughts and fears that preoccupy your mind and become highly intrusive. 

There are many different obsessions, but some common themes include cleanliness, safety, religion, and precision. Taboo thoughts about acting out violence or forbidden sexual practices can also be obsessions.

Obsessive thoughts can invade your mind frequently or almost constantly, making it difficult to focus on other things or live normally. That’s why people then carry out compulsions. 


Compulsions are repetitive or ritualistic actions that are a response to obsessions. For example, if you have intrusive safety obsessions, you may constantly worry about leaving the stove burner on when you leave the house. 

Because of this obsession, you may perform compulsions, like repeatedly confirming all the burners are off before you leave the house. 

While compulsions briefly “neutralize” the obsessive thought, this relief doesn’t last long. So, compulsions are usually repeated many times, like washing your hands a dozen times, cleaning the sink multiple times in the same day, rearranging the cabinets repeatedly, or saying protective phrases or prayers.

Is OCD an anxiety disorder?

While OCD features many anxiety symptoms, it’s not classified as an anxiety disorder. The American Psychiatric Association (APA) designated OCD in its own separate category, “obsessive-compulsive and related disorders,” in 2013. 

This categorization reflects that OCD has unique characteristics and may require different care than an anxiety disorder. 

How is OCD treated?

Treatment of OCD depends on your symptoms and personal preferences. Many patients with OCD respond well to a type of antidepressant medication called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs).

SSRIs are usually prescribed for depression. They can balance brain neurotransmitters (brain chemicals) to effectively relieve depression. For OCD, a higher dose of SSRIs can often lead to symptom relief within 6-12 weeks. 

The APA states that the ideal approach for OCD is a combination of medication management and psychotherapy, specifically cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). With CBT, you can confront your obsessions and realize that you don’t need to carry out compulsions.

Trilogy Behavioral Health Services provides caring OCD support through accessible telehealth care. Book an appointment online or call the nearest office to learn more.