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OCD: Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Multiple paperclips, pencils, and paperclips being lined up with a ruler showing typical signs of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

What is OCD?

In Psychology Today, Dr. Diane® wrote a blog called, “The Resilient Brain”, it describes Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) as an anxiety disorder in which people have unwanted and repetitive thoughts, feelings, or obsessions. The person may act on the thoughts in an attempt to stop them, but the relief doesn’t last. Also, unfortunately, not acting on these things can cause a lot of anxiety in the patient.

Understanding OCD can be difficult. When most people think of OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) they think of someone who needs to do repetitive things. Things like washing their hands over and over or checking the door several times to make sure it’s locked. While this is true, OCD is much more than that. Often, one can’t control his or her thoughts or behaviors, even when those thoughts or behaviors are recognized as excessive. A person’s level of OCD can range from mild to severe. If severe and left untreated, it can make functioning at work, school, or home almost impossible.

Do you find yourself always thinking or planning and have problems just relaxing? Maybe you have problems sleeping because your thoughts are racing all night? Do you feel you can never shut off your thoughts and it makes you feel stressed out? In our hectic, fast-paced, multi-tasking lives, we are forced to have a very active mind. With the stress of everyday living, it has become more difficult to simply relax. However, if your mind cannot stop without using medication, drugs, or alcohol, then you may be living with OCD.

What Part Do Brain Injuries Play?

Through our 5 Prong Approach, our team of brain experts can assess the degree your OCD is affecting your symptoms of chronic pain, brain injury, or PTSD and design the Cognitive Coping Strategies and the Multidimensional approach to provide the most suitable treatment to help you manage, cope, and overcome your OCD.

If you are living with OCD and have had a brain injury, a few things could happen. Certain symptoms of OCD may increase depending on the area of injury. If the area of the brain that controls thought has been damaged, symptoms of sleep disturbances, unwanted thoughts or panic attacks could increase. If your brain injury has affected your memory, you may feel the need to do things over many times.

The trauma of your brain injury, especially if it is the result of an assault, is seen as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). However, if you had OCD before the traumatic event, it may be challenging to work through the trauma with a therapist. You may feel the need to act out or talk at great length about the event without ever reaching a resolution. Thus, you may believe that there isn’t any help or hope of recovery. This is sometimes true, because often when a person seeks help for a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) or Parkinson Disease, the doctor will likely only address the symptoms of these issues first. However, if OCD is causing underlying problems, those will need to be dealt with before your other symptoms can be dealt with.

Diagnostic Assessment

Through our 5 Prong Approach, our team can assess the degree of your OCD as it relates to your symptoms of a brain injury. A medical history is taken to see if any symptoms existed before the brain injury, concussion or stroke. If so, the injury may have caused an increase in the pre-existing symptoms. A review of medical records is needed to assess what caused the symptoms before and what methods helped relieve them. We can then develop cognitive coping strategies to provide the most suitable treatment to help you manage, cope, and work through your OCD.


OCD affects about 2.2 million American adults. The problem can be accompanied by eating disorders, other anxiety disorders, or depression. It strikes men and women in roughly equal numbers and can appear in childhood, adolescence, or early adulthood. One-third of adults with OCD develop symptoms as children, and research shows that OCD might run in families.

Symptoms typically begin during the teen years or early adulthood. However, research shows that some children may develop the illness during preschool. It is important that the child get evaluated and treated to keep them from longer term problems that interfere with development.

Schedule Your Consultation

Are you ready to relieve the pain and suffering caused by your traumatic brain injury? Contact Dr. Diane and her team of experts today, and get your life back on track.

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Find Help and Hope in Dr. Diane’s Book!

Coping with Concussion and Mild Traumatic Brain Injury

If you're suffering from a concussion, or any other form of mild traumatic brain injury, pick up Dr. Diane's book Coping with Concussion and Mild Traumatic Brain Injury and start healing today!

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Dr. Diane® Roberts Stoler, Ed.D.
7 Hodges Street
N. Andover, MA 01845
Phone: (800) 500-9971
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Dr. Diane is a catalyst for change

Image Credit Elaine Boucher

Within each person shines an inner light that illuminates our path and is the source of hope. Illness, trauma, suffering and grief can diminish the light and shroud hope. I am a catalyst for hope and change, offering a way to rekindle this inner light.

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