Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) in Couple and Family Therapy
Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is characterized by unwanted intrusive thoughts that provoke anxiety or distress (i.e., obsessions) and ritualistic behaviors (i.e., compulsions) and extreme avoidance behavior performed to reduce distress. Obsessions and compulsions are functionally related and typically concern themes of contamination, blasphemy, sex, harm, or order and symmetry. Avoidance behavior, which serves the purpose of reducing obsessional anxiety, might also be present. Although rituals and avoidance strategies reduce obsessional anxiety in the short term, they maintain the problem in the long run by preventing the disconfirmation of feared consequences. Left untreated, OCD can be a disabling condition that exacts substantial morbidity. Individuals report strained relationships with family and friends, role impairment (i.e., trouble at work and school due to days missed, lost productivity), and poorer physical health (Huppert et al. 2009).
Theoretical Context for Concept
- Abramowitz, J. S., Baucom, D. H., Boeding, S., Wheaton, M. G., Pukay-Martin, N. D., Fabricant, L. E., … Fischer, M. S. (2013). Treating obsessive-compulsive disorder in intimate relationships: A pilot study of couple-based cognitive-behavior therapy. Behavior Therapy, 44(3), 395–407. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.beth.2013.02.005.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Huppert, J. D., Blair Simpson, H., Nissenson, K. J., Liebowitz, M. R., & Foa, E. B. (2009). Quality of life and functional impairment in obsessive-compulsive disorder: A comparison of patients with and without comorbidity, patients in remission, and healthy controls. Depression and Anxiety, 26(1), 39–45. https://doi.org/10.1002/da.20506.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar