Calm, Cool and Connected - The Guide Book to Peace of Mind

Understanding and Treating Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

May 23, 2022 Calm, Cool and Connected Season 1 Episode 181
Calm, Cool and Connected - The Guide Book to Peace of Mind
Understanding and Treating Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
Show Notes Transcript

Anxiety is a fairly normal and healthy emotion. When someone often experiences elevated levels of anxiety on a frequent basis, that is when it can become a disorder.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, or OCD, is defined as a mental illness that causes repeated unwanted thoughts or sensations (obsessions) or the urge to do something over and over again (compulsions). Some people can have both obsessions and compulsions.

Michael Klinkner joins Dr. Fedrick for this episode of Calm, Cool and Connected to dive into this topic further.

Key Takeaways from Liz’s chat with Michael:

• Hear about Michael’s background and work in the mental health field
• Learn how Michael defines OCD
• Find out whether or not obsession is always directly related to the compulsion 
• Discover whether or not Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is genetic
• Hear about some of the most effective treatment modalities for OCD

All of this and more, on this episode of Calm, Cool and Connected.

Find more information about Michael at

For more information on Dr. Elizabeth Fedrick, visit her website:
Connect with Dr. Fedrick on Instagram: @drelizabethfedrick

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Dr. Liz: Hello and welcome to colon colon connected. I'm your host, Dr.

Elizabeth. Anxiety is a really normal and even healthy emotion that serves a very specific purpose to keep us safe and to alert us to danger. However, when a person regularly feels disproportionate levels of anxiety, it can become a disorder and really debilitating to one's daily function. One specific and often misunderstood anxiety disorder is obsessive compulsive disorder, also known as [00:01:00]OCD.

And we know that OCD is often thrown around as a term to joke around about people who are overly clean or structured organized, but OCD is a really real thing and could be extremely difficult disorder to live with. So joining us today is Michael. Linkner a licensed clinical social worker.

Who's here to provide us with a better understanding of obsessive compulsive disorder, as well as some treatment on. I might want them to the show. 

Michael: Hi Liz. Thank you. 

Dr. Liz: Yes, thank you for joining us. So before we get started, can you tell us a little bit about yourself and the work that you do in the mental health field?

Michael: Sure. I'm a licensed clinical social worker. I, and I'm clinical director at evolve counseling and behavioral health in Gilbert, Arizona. And I serve lots of different types of people. A lot of kids and teens young adults, older adults with trauma, depression, anxiety. 

Dr. Liz: Okay. Great. So how would you best describe OCD?

Like I was saying in the intro is often the term that is thrown around. I'm, so OCD stopped being so OCD, but [00:02:00] what exactly is obsessive compulsive 

Michael: disorder? Well, I'm glad you brought up sort of like how tritely it's used a lot in like, just in the common culture and like just in conversations.

It's a, it's a long lasting disorder that has to do with uncontrollable, unwanted thoughts and urges about any number of variety of things. And so it's not about like, I just like things in order, I like things clean. What happens is you have this obsession, which is this thought or an image or an, an urge that won't go away and it's not enjoyable and you don't like it.

And it just keeps staying and staying and repeating and repeating. Until there's a compulsion and a compulsion is a behavior that a person does sometimes over and over again, sometimes ritualistically in order to make temporarily the obsession, get some relief and to go away. So it makes, so when the obsession comes on, there's all this anxiety, there's all this stress, there's all this terrible feelings that go along with it that won't go away until the compulsion happens, which is that [00:03:00] behavior that just temporary relieves it, make you feel a little bit better for a little bit.


Dr. Liz: Yeah. And I describe it to my clients. I mean, very similar along those lines that it has this feeling in the body that is. So uncomfortable. And so that person is just doing anything that they can to try to get rid of it. No matter what that takes. And as you're saying with some of these compulsive behaviors, just being willing to do something over and over, if they have to, in order to find some type of relief from.

Michael: Yeah, absolutely. And sometimes the compulsion's are related to what the obsession is like a really common one is germs let's say. And so the person has a certain way they have to wash their hands or a certain number of times they have to wash their hands or in like in a particular sink in a particular way or something like that.

But sometimes the company. I have nothing to do with what the obsession is, so it could be about germs, but then I have to make sure that I counted the number 18. Anytime that happens or I have to have things symmetrically in place all the time, so that the bad thing doesn't happen, things like that.

Dr. Liz: [00:04:00] And so are there different types of obsessive compulsive disorder? How would this be category? 

Michael: There is an infinite number of different types of obsessions that can happen. And so if someone is sailing very religious, they could get like religious or moral OCD, which has to do with, if I don't do this thing right, then I have to pray right afterwards so that God would forgive me for what I've done.

Or if I think about a certain thing, I have therefore sin. So I have to do something right afterwards to. Or it could be about germs or it could be about someone breaking into my house or it can be about what I'm driving or it could be about leaves on a tree, like anything. It could be about anything.

The topic topics are absolutely limitless. 

Dr. Liz: And are there specific causes that, that lead to this disorder forming? Is it. Genetic does it just happen? Is there usually a catalyst? Where does, where does it usually develop 

Michael: from? Yeah, so the thought is probably there's some genetics and bullets, but no, one's done the research yet to be able to figure that out, but we know [00:05:00] it can run in families.

Like so many other things, like, you know, nature versus nurture here. So is there a genetic component of maybe but if you're raised by somebody with OCD, what happens is you'll learn that like, okay, this is how I think about the world, or this is all like, you know, like here's how my parent thinks about the world.

And so if they think about the world that way, I'm going to think about the world that way. And then I'm going to also. The way that they handle those things. Just like with anything else, like with an angry parents, like whenever they get angry and they punch a wall, the kid's going to learn, Hey, when I get angry, I punch a wall with the kid who's going to learn from their parent is, Hey, Whenever I'm feeling stressed out or there's this thing that I should be afraid of.

Therefore, there's this thing I do. I wash my hands all the time or I locked the door. I have to check the doors the number of times, or I make sure that it count to a certain number or everything has to be symmetrical. Like if I do it on the left side, we'll do it on the right side. So the kid can learn it just from modeling also when there's, when there's trauma, lots of times, because like for a young child or a teen or even an adult, when something bad happens, We have to figure out some way to try to [00:06:00]manage all this stress and anxiety that goes along with a stressful environment.

One of the ways they can solve that is through these, like these compulsion's. And so if they're in a really stressful environment where there's abuse or like trauma, or it's just scary for whatever reason, then they can pick up this idea about, okay, how do we make these bad thoughts go away? How do I make these scary feelings go away?

Oh, I locked the door this certain number of times, or I have to go to. In this exact order where I have to like shower for 18 minutes, or why not obsessing about the number 18? That's weird. I know seriously, it's my compulsion right now. Like I have a shower for 23 minutes and then I have to wash my hands for like two times.

And then I have to open and close the door twice, things like that, where I have to do it in exact order, because what happens is it gives this sense of control and environment that they can't control that. 

Dr. Liz: Right. And that we know like that chaos in the sense of, as you're describing feeling so out of control that a lot of times these compulsions give this person a sense of control over their environment, that we know it, it [00:07:00] is certainly a false sense of control.

What are maybe just a couple of the most effective treatment modalities that, I mean, I know that a lot of the work that you do, you specialize in treating this, what are a couple of the approaches that you have found to be most effective? 

Michael: So there's a, there's a couple of gold standard ones. So first off medications, SSRI, selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors, like Prozac are, are really often very helpful with someone with OCD.

And so that's definitely a way to explore it or where to treat it rather. Also it's called ERP. Exposure therapy that you use in coordination with cognitive behavioral therapy. And so like you develop like this like hierarchy of things that you're afraid of. So if I'm afraid of germs then you'll do exposures to like something that's like gross to you.

And so, and then you learn to keep yourself calm. Even though you're exposed to it. And so you start with something small. So like you touch a sink that you think is dirty, then you wanted to calm yourself down from there. And then we go to something else, like you're touching the bottom of a shoe and then you learn how to calm yourself down from there.

And you just go through the hierarchy until the [00:08:00] scariest of those things, really, to just deal with and calm yourself through versus having to given it to the compulsion. Also EMDR eye movement, desensitization and reprocessing is also their protocols. Do you can use. First off killing with the trauma that lots of times associated with obsessive compulsive disorder, but also dealing with the compulsion's and the associated obsessions to go with it.

You can use EMDR for that too. 

Dr. Liz: so what would you say, like maybe one piece of advice for somebody listening who can relate to this? Maybe they have had concerns that they've been dealing with OCD. What's one piece of information you might give for somebody listening. 

Michael: So if, if you're thinking, so again, it's not just about, you need things to be neat or clean or a certain way.

This is about you. Can't stop thinking about a thing until you do this other thing. And it's torture, it's torture, it's torture. It's torture. OCT is so rough. And so what I would say is go seek professional help go find someone in your area you can either do through tele. So if you have someone that's trouble with.

Going outside, do [00:09:00] it through tele-health in the beginning. If you're it's but you got to seek professional help. It only gets worse. It doesn't get better on its own. OCD is chronic. It is long lasting and it worsens over the years. It's not just a phase. It doesn't get better by itself. And it's not something you can necessarily treat by yourself.

You can't do exposures to yourself. You can EMDR. Through this, this is one of those things that you just need. Someone who knows what they're doing to help out, start with your doctor, bill start with a psychiatrist, go there, maybe get the medications first and then go see professional treatment from there, but take a step towards getting help.

Because it's rough. It is hard in there. Things are working against you. It's okay. There is treatment for it. You have to ask for help. You have to go to. 

Dr. Liz: Yes, absolutely. I agree wholeheartedly with that. Tell us, where can our viewers find you social media website? Where can be found? 

Michael: Sure. All my social media is, or Michael clinker counseling.

It's Instagram, it's Facebook it's tick-tock. And the website is evolve counseling, 

Dr. Liz: Very dead. Well, thank you so much for joining us, Mike. I [00:10:00] appreciate 

Michael: it. Thank you so much, 

Dr. Liz: Liz. And thank you for tuning into this episode of calm, cooling, connected. Please make sure to find us on Facebook and Instagram and also make sure to rate and subscribe to our podcast so that others can discover our content as well.

Thank you again for joining us on this episode of column cooling, connected. .