Area of Focus

OCD & Complex Anxiety Treatment

Dealing with anxiety can make everyday life challenging. Often individuals spend more time tending to their anxiety than engaging in meaningful or productive activities. Compass Health Center provides integrated, patient-centered Partial Hospitalization (PHP) and Intensive Outpatient (IOP) Programs care to individuals of all ages for anxiety & Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).

Compass's specialized programs are designed to help patients build the skills to manage their anxiety—encouraging acceptance rather than avoidance, assisting in the reduction of compulsive behaviors, and adjusting to new thinking patterns. This is all done in a collaborative and supportive environment where one can experience progress and personal growth.

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What Are OCD and Complex Anxiety?<span id= - Compass Health Center ">

What Are OCD and Complex Anxiety?

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a mental health diagnosis that is characterized by a pattern of unpleasant thoughts and anxieties (obsessions) that cause you to engage in repetitive actions (compulsions). These compulsive thoughts and behaviors disrupt daily life and cause severe distress. If not properly managed, these actions and behaviors can significantly interfere with an individual’s ability to function in their daily life. 

It is normal for individuals to experience distressing thoughts or repetitive practices, however, this behavior does not necessarily disrupt their daily life. For people with OCD, these thoughts are persistent and can be characterized by rigid behaviors. Being unable to perform these practices can cause great distress and severe anxiety.

OCD treatment is effective as soon as symptoms start to appear, regardless of an individual’s age. According to the Anxiety & Depression Association of America (ADAA), OCD affects 2.2 million adults, which roughly equates to 1% of the U.S. population. One-third of the affected adults report that their first symptoms occurred during childhood. 

While OCD is a commonly used term, Complex Anxiety Disorders is a term Compass uses to refer to those anxiety disorders best treated using Exposure and Response Prevention.  These disorders include Social Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder, Agoraphobia, Phobias, Separation Anxiety Disorder, Illness Anxiety Disorder, and more severe Generalized Anxiety Disorder. 

The primary evidence-based clinical model to treat OCD and Complex Anxiety Disorders is Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP).  ERP places patients in the presence of those stimuli or situations that they fear, gradually increasing their exposure to these situations and allowing them to learn to be more effective, more present, and less avoidant in these situations to facilitate an increase in value-oriented behaviors.

Common OCD Symptoms - Compass Health Center

Common OCD Symptoms

OCD symptoms come in several forms and range in severity, but most cases are classified into at least one of the following four categories: checking, contamination, symmetry, and ruminations. The symptoms of OCD include but are not limited to:

  • Checking locks and alarm systems
  • Checking light switches or any household appliances
  • Constantly cleaning
  • Overthinking any physical discomfort
  • Thinking that one might have a serious physical or mental illness 
  • Ritualized or excessive hand-washing
  • Changing clothes frequently
  • Creating and cleaning areas that are “off-limits” to others
  • Constantly lining or evening up items so they are spaced in a perfectly measured manner or by color
  • Evening up usual behaviors, such as tapping, counting, or touching, and making sure that they are done at a certain time
  • Having obsessive thoughts about one’s own hygiene or cleanliness
  • Feeling heightened fear of being dirty, catching sickness, or infecting others 
  • Experiencing disturbing thoughts or fear of harming people
  • Avoiding certain people or places to prevent being “triggered”
  • Constantly worrying about environmental contaminants 
  • Constantly fearing that something life-threatening might happen to a loved one
  • Having conflicting thoughts that things will always go wrong if a specific action is not done
  • Having obsessive thoughts about existential topics

Effects of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder on Your Life - Compass Health Center

Effects of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder on Your Life

OCD affects individuals in many different ways. While some might spend their days experiencing symptoms that lead to isolation, others may appear as functioning individuals, continuing to experience feelings of distress in secret. 

The World Health Organization (WHO) ranked OCD as one of the top 10 most disabling illnesses when it comes to financial loss and poor quality of life. In the same report, OCD was named as the fifth-leading cause of disease burden for women aged 15 to 44. The effects of OCD can be so crippling that it can severely impact most areas of life, including education, employment, intimate and familial relationships, and overall quality of life.

When to Seek OCD Treatment  - Compass Health Center

When to Seek OCD Treatment

Individuals who are struggling to manage their OCD symptoms should seek treatment in order to prevent crises from happening. Do not wait until symptoms begin to disrupt daily life, damage relationships, and become unmanageable. Research has found that only one-third of individuals seek help for OCD.

OCD in Children and Teens

OCD in school-aged children and teens is common, with one out of 100 children in the United States affected. OCD in teens is more common than in children, as the onset of symptoms typically starts during an individual’s adolescent years, with 25% of OCD diagnoses made by the age of 14.

OCD in children and teens can be a challenge to identify or diagnose because its obvious symptoms are similar to other mental health concerns. OCD might present as a distraction, disinterest, or even laziness. Early signs of OCD can prevent them from focusing and concentrating, resulting in poor academic performance. What looks like lethargy or indifference is actually an intense focus on obsessive thoughts or nagging urges to complete rituals overtly or covertly.

OCD in Young Adults and Adults

OCD in young adults and adults can prevent an individual from performing in school or in other aspects of their life, such as their jobs and social activities. OCD in Young Adults and Adults”, change to ” OCD & anxiety can be so debilitating that it greatly impairs a person’s overall quality of life, such as relationships and vital responsibilities at home and work. Ninety percent of adults who had OCD at some point in their lives also experienced one other co-occurring mental disorder.


Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is when someone regularly experiences intrusive thoughts. These are thoughts that are very troubling, unwanted and occur with a high frequency. AN example of an intrusive thought, or obsession, might be steering your car into oncoming traffic. While most people have some intrusive thoughts, people with OCD have them far more. As a result, people with OCD spend a fair amount of time and energy engaging in behaviors trying to control or neutralize the effect of these thoughts. These behaviors are referred to as compulsions.

As with many mental illnesses, OCD is likely caused by a combination of factors including biology, genetics and learning.

OCD can start at any time from childhood through adulthood. Although OCD can occur at any age, there are two age ranges when OCD tends to first appear, in the preteen years (8-12) and during the transition to young adulthood.

Treatment of OCD involves decreasing ineffective strategies aimed at controlling the intrusive thoughts and helping the person think about their intrusive thoughts differently. The goal of treatment is to decrease avoidance and help the person get back to a rick meaningful existence.

Most behaviors are within our control, as long as we feel it is in our best interest to control them. Treatment of OCD involves helping the patient learn that their compulsive behaviors are not only ineffective but in most situations contributing to their problem with intrusive thoughts. The goal of treatment is to eliminate compulsive behaviors, freeing the patient to engage in more meaningful actions.

At Compass Health Center, we want to make sure that a patient can get the healthcare they need, regardless of their insurance coverage. We accept most commercial insurance plans, and we offer flexible payment plans to help make our services more affordable. Our billing team works with the patient/family to establish any plans needed.

While components of treating OCD are similar to treating other types of anxiety, the combination of the use of Exposure and Response Prevention and the focus on the nature of intrusive thoughts makes treating OCD different than some of the other anxiety related problems.

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Our Success Stories

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Compass saved my life! I came into Compass with suicidal ideations and no hope. After a couple of weeks of being in the program, I did not have those thoughts anymore. Compass helped me change my mindset, from a negative pattern of thoughts to a more positive and optimistic frame of mind.

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My child is leaving Compass more equipped to handle her emotions, her anxiety, her depression, and the things that all trigger these. She is willing to use the skills, which is a huge change, and this is all due to how well Compass worked for her.

Parent of Child Patient
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I liked how in Compass, everyone was respectful of my opinions, pronouns, and preferred name. There was no judging, and you can open up to people. I also like how I can relate to other kids. I also really appreciate learning new skills.

Double Quotes - Compass Health Center

Compass is a godsend. An amazing program for children who are struggling and families who are seeking help and guidance. I could not imagine that she would be so much better in less than 2 months. I wish we could have found Compass without going to the ER. Thanks for all you do!

Parent of Child Patient
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The evening IOP program challenged me in a supportive and respectful way to help change my way of thinking. Compass provided me with the tools to help deal with life situations in a healthy way.

Adult Patient
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