How Do I Choose the Best OCD Specialist?

Erin J. Hill
Erin J. Hill
Compulsive hand washing may be a sign of OCD.
Compulsive hand washing may be a sign of OCD.

You will mostly likely find the best obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) specialist by speaking with your primary care physician for recommendations. If he or she doesn't have any good candidates in mind, you can also call numbers found in the phone directory, speak with other patients with your condition, or check with your insurance provider to see if they recommend a specific OCD specialist in your area.

Constantly checking to confirm that doors are locked may be a sign of OCD.
Constantly checking to confirm that doors are locked may be a sign of OCD.

Many patients find mental health professionals by talking to their general practice physicians. If you went to your family doctor to discuss initial OCD symptoms, he or she may have even given you a diagnosis or at least an idea of what was going on. Most doctors have lists of local specialists so they can refer patients when necessary. If your doctor has such a list, ask him or her about an OCD specialist you could speak with.

Regularly rechecking to confirm that an alarm clock is set may be a sign of OCD.
Regularly rechecking to confirm that an alarm clock is set may be a sign of OCD.

Other times you will find an OCD specialist through another mental health practitioner. Many patients wind up seeing a psychiatrist or counselor after experiencing troubling symptoms. In some cases, they are referred to a mental health facility after a suicidal episode or another serious situation. If this describes you, then you can probably ask your current mental health doctor about someone who specializes solely in obsessive compulsive disorder.

A cognitive behavioral therapist can be part of a plan to treat OCD.
A cognitive behavioral therapist can be part of a plan to treat OCD.

If these tactics don't work, you can find an OCD specialist on your own by searching through your local phone directory and calling various mental health clinics near you. Make sure you write out a list of questions before calling so you can get a general idea of each practice before scheduling a visit. Find out if there is someone on site who works primarily with OCD patients. You should also discuss any other issues which are important to you, such as costs, location, and services offered.

A list of OCD specialists with local offices can be found in the phone book.
A list of OCD specialists with local offices can be found in the phone book.

In many cases, an OCD specialist will work alongside your current doctors. Many specialists are trained in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), but they may not be able to prescribe medication. This means you will likely be working with several specialists at the same time.

Once you have a list of potential practices to visit, see about visiting each one to talk with the specialists in person. Bring additional questions to ask if you have them. During your visit you will get a feel for the person and determine whether or not you feel comfortable with him or her and whether he or she is someone you feel you could open up to. If possible, don't settle for someone you don't like, since you'll be much less likely to stick with treatment if you don't like your counselor or doctor.

Insurance plans may dictate who you can see for treatment. If this is the case for you, there still might be more than one doctor on the list of options. Talk to your insurance provider for additional information.

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    • Compulsive hand washing may be a sign of OCD.
      Compulsive hand washing may be a sign of OCD.
    • Constantly checking to confirm that doors are locked may be a sign of OCD.
      Constantly checking to confirm that doors are locked may be a sign of OCD.
    • Regularly rechecking to confirm that an alarm clock is set may be a sign of OCD.
      Regularly rechecking to confirm that an alarm clock is set may be a sign of OCD.
    • A cognitive behavioral therapist can be part of a plan to treat OCD.
      A cognitive behavioral therapist can be part of a plan to treat OCD.
    • A list of OCD specialists with local offices can be found in the phone book.
      A list of OCD specialists with local offices can be found in the phone book.
    • There are many different treatment options for overcoming obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).
      There are many different treatment options for overcoming obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).
    • OCD specialists may focus on specific behaviors.
      OCD specialists may focus on specific behaviors.