What Is OCD?

Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is a treatable neurobiological disorder characterized by obsessions and/or compulsions/rituals. Certain compulsions are performed in an effort to relieve the anxiety or distress caused by the obsessions. Obsessions and compulsions can be extremely time-consuming causing significant emotional distress, and may greatly interfere with day-to-day functioning and interpersonal relationships. Individuals with OCD may go to great lengths to hide obsessions and compulsions due to embarrassment and shame. It is estimated that 1 in 40 adults, and 1-2 out of every 100 children suffer with OCD. Read more OCD facts.

Types of Symptoms

  • Counting and checking
  • Intrusive thoughts
  • Fear of germs and contamination
  • Immoral or scrupulous thoughts
  • Perfectionism
  • Magical thinking
  • Avoidance

Treatment

When looking for the right help there are many treatment options available. Treatment for OCD includes self-help options, outpatient therapy, intensive outpatient therapy and residential treatment centers. Exposure with response prevention, also known as ERP, is the gold standard treatment for OCD. ERP is a specific form of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for OCD. The basic principles surrounding this treatment for OCD (and other anxiety conditions) is to face your fear without engaging in a ritual or any avoidance (exposure and ritual prevention). However, this process can be challenging and takes hard work; although the reward is worth the effort. Specific steps are recommended in CBT with ERP and if possible it is best to do this type of treatment with an OCD specialist.

Meet Our Team

Our clinical team of psychiatrists, psychologists and social workers works closely with cognitive neuroscientists, brain imagers, geneticists and engineers to deliver evidence-based treatments and to elucidate the causes of OCD.

Wayne Goodman, M.D.

Wayne Goodman, M.D., with 30 years of experience treating OCD, leads the program. He is co-founder of the IOCDF and principal developer of the Y-BOCS.

Eric Storch, Ph.D.

Dr. Eric Storch is professor and McIngvale Presidential Endowed Chair in the Menninger Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Baylor. He serves as vice chair and head of Psychology, and oversees the Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for OCD and related disorders program at the College. Dr. Storch specializes in the nature and treatment of childhood and adult obsessive-compulsive disorder and related conditions, anxiety disorders, and anxiety among youth with autism.

Elizabeth McIngvale, Ph.D., LMSW

Elizabeth McIngvale, Ph.D., is a nationally known expert in ERP, mental health advocate and renowned speaker. Dr. McIngvale engages in clinical OCD practice and research at the Baylor College of Medicine OCD program. Elizabeth runs a non-profit for OCD (peaceofmind.com) and serves on many boards including the International OCD Foundation’s board of directors where she served as the first-ever national spokesperson for OCD. 

Jessica Rohr

Jessica Rohr, Ph.D., is a staff psychologist at The Menninger Clinic and assistant professor in the Menninger Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. Dr. Rohr has an active interest in teaching the next generation of scholar-clinicians, and she serves as trainee research mentor for multiple psychology trainees. In addition to her expertise in evidence-based interventions for OCD and anxiety, Dr. Rohr is engaged in research on trauma and other women’s mental health issues.

Gregory S. Vogt

Gregory Vogt is a senior research coordinator for the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences.