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We understand mental illness and the difficulties it creates for those who suffer from it. At our San Diego Mental Health Treatment Center we are sensitive to your challenges. Solara will find every possible solution to enable you to live the life that you are meant to live.

People with OCD most commonly fall into four subtypes: Cleaners, Taboo Thinkers, Checkers, or Arrangers. Each subtype suffers from obsessive, intrusive, and recurring thoughts. Each subtype also acts on those thoughts with compulsive behaviors, even if that action is a mental ritual not noticeable by others.

OCD is triggered by intrusive thoughts that may be provoked by certain situations. Causes of its development stem from a combination of genetic factors, hormonal and chemical imbalances, distorted beliefs, and learned behaviors. Though, OCD is still being researched and is not completely understood.

As a chronic mental illness, OCD cannot generally be cured. But with the right knowledge and practice, a person may be able to better manage their symptoms. Cognitive-behavioral therapies by itself can often help one manage symptoms, but the additional mixture of medicine is often the best way to thoroughly reduce the emergence of symptoms.

Psychotherapy and TMS can effectively treat OCD without medication. Specific cognitive-behavioral therapy approaches that are used for OCD include Exposure and Response Prevention, Mindfulness, Acceptance and Commitment, Stress Management and Relaxation, Thought Stopping, and Dynamic Therapies. TMS works by stimulating parts of the brain with magnetic waves to counter-balance brain activity. It is entirely painless and non-invasive.

OCD does NOT mean someone is crazy or a threat to others. Even though these intrusive thoughts may be extremely distasteful, a person with OCD wouldn’t want to act on them.

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OCD Treatment Center in San Diego

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a distressing mental illness comprised of two parts — obsessions and compulsions. These feelings are recurring and uncontrollable, and they can interfere with all aspects of a person’s life.

Though it is a disruptive and debilitating disorder, there are multiple effective treatments for OCD. Solara’s Mental Health Center in San Diego specializes in OCD Treatment and psychiatric counseling. And, we’re welcoming new patients.

If you’re looking for the most effective OCD treatment in San Diego, search no further and read below to get an understanding of what Solara can do for you.

What is Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder?

Obsessive-compulsive disorder, or OCD for short, as a common chronic disease that can last a lifetime. The National Institute of Mental Health characterizes it by “uncontrollable, reoccurring thoughts (obsessions) and/or behaviors (compulsions) [of which a person] feels the urge to repeat over and over.”

Causes of its development stem from a combination of genetic factors, hormonal and chemical imbalances, distorted beliefs, and learned behaviors. Though, OCD is still being researched and is not completely understood.


OCD is triggered by intrusive thoughts that may be provoked by certain situations. These thoughts usually have recurring themes and vary in clarity. Even the vaguest of obsessions can induce a strong sense of discomfort or tension in a person with OCD.

Even though people with OCD mostly understand that their intrusive thoughts do not align with reality or morality, they can be challenging to avoid. These obsessions often come with guilt or self-shaming.

These obsessive thoughts come with anxiety, which most often manifests itself through compulsive behaviors.


As obsessive thoughts become unignorable, a person with OCD may act out with compulsive behavior. Compulsive behaviors are mostly visible to others, though sometimes they play out as mental rituals.

A person with OCD may feel that consequences may follow if they don’t act on their obsessions. Their compulsive behavior may ease the fear and anxiety of their intrusive thoughts. But, this relief is only temporary, and the person suffering from OCD is well-aware of this.

There are endless amounts of examples of compulsive behaviors that happen as a result of OCD, and you can read about some of them below.

Types and their Symptoms

Some doctors may categorize these thoughts and behaviors into different OCD subtypes defined by the expression of these uncontrollable thoughts and behaviors:

Contamination and Cleaning

People affected by this subtype become obsessed with discomfort linked to cleanliness. In turn, they are compelled to excessively wash and clean themselves or things around them.

People with this type may avoid situations or places that expose them to dirt, germs, viruses, etc. Though, harmless residues or grime like cleaning chemicals, blood, stickiness, or food crumbs may cause a person with OCD to feel extreme discomfort. To ensure avoidance of these things, a person might have a very specific and thorough cleaning routine.

Common signs and symptoms of this subtype may include persistent:

  • Avoidance of sources of contaminants
  • Compulsive ridding of potentially dirty things
  • Compulsive cleaning of self and surroundings
  • Fear of exposure to contaminants
  • Feelings of physical and mental dirtiness
  • Worrying about illnesses and germs

Forbidden/Taboo Thoughts

People with this subtype have intrusive taboo thoughts and do not always have visual compulsions to pair with their obsessions. Some consider this type “Pure O” (as in purely obsessional), though it seems that most people with this subtype have mental rituals and compulsions. These thoughts are also often related to sex, religion, or violence.

The person with this subtype is commonly aware of the forbidden nature of these thoughts. In turn, they may feel great guilt or shame, arguing with themselves over their character.

Common signs and symptoms of this subtype may include persistent:

  • Feelings of guilt and shame
  • Neutralizing of bad thoughts with mental rituals
  • Recurring intrusive taboo thoughts
  • Sacrilegious ideas and obsessions
  • Seeking reassurance of moral character
  • Questioning of their desires and interests, often sexually
  • Worry they may eventually act on forbidden thoughts, harming others themselves

Harm and Checking

People with this type obsess over thoughts of possible harm to oneself or others, and they are compelled to check things to relieve themselves. They may have intrusive imaginations unintentionally hurting others or themselves due to negligence. This fear can put the person on alert, continually checking when feelings of uncertainty hit them.

They may worry about catastrophic events and believe if they were to happen, they would be responsible as if they manifested it themselves. They may worry about hurting others while driving. Or, they might worry they left the stove on, and their house is burning. It’s all up to their imagination.

Common signs and symptoms of this subtype may include persistent:

  • Checking on things that may cause harm to themselves or others
  • Feelings of guilt about the potential manifestations of harmful events
  • Worry that they’ve made a mistake that can result in harm

Symmetry and Ordering

Some refer to this type as “Just Right” OCD. This subtype is marked by obsessing over symmetry and order, feeling compelled to organize, arrange, or setting objects in particular places. When these objects are seemingly out of place, they may feel incomplete or worry that something terrible may happen as a result of the disorderliness.

This ordering and reordering may be especially visible in places where the person with OCD lives or frequents, such as their house, car, or office. It may also be apparent with audible counting and speaking to oneself.

Common signs and symptoms of this subtype may include persistent:

  • Arrangement rituals
  • Feelings of incompleteness or worry
  • “Magical thinking” in which something terrible might happen if things are disorderly
  • Need for actions to have symmetrical counteractions
  • Need for items to be balanced or line up a certain way

Diagnosing OCD

Solara’s Mental Health Facility and OCD treatment center can help evaluate and diagnose you or a loved one to see if they are suffering from OCD. Similar symptoms of other disorders may be confused as OCD, so a thorough examination is necessary. It is also possible to have other co-occurring mental disorders alongside OCD.

If you call and arrange an appointment with us, you may go through the following:

  • Psychological Examination — of your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. We’ll gauge how much your condition is affecting your daily life. With your permission, we may ask to talk to family members or close friends to get a better understanding.
  • DSM-5 Criteria Evaluation — of the examination and the American Psychiatric Association’s criteria for OCD.
  • Physical Examination — to see if there are any other factors or related complications that are contributing to your condition.

OCD Treatment

There is no “cure” for OCD, though most people with OCD who receive proper treatment can significantly reduce their symptoms and live a fulfilling life. Depending on the severity of the illness, some people may need more intensive treatment for more extended periods, while others may get better with more casual treatment. In either circumstance, improvement tends to be gradual.

Solara’s OCD Treatment in San Diego can be done in either an outpatient or residential inpatient setting at our beautiful mental health center. We’ve found that the most effective treatment for OCD includes a combination of psychotherapy and medication.

OCD Psychotherapy

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) have been validated by over 30 studies as effective strategies to reduce OCD symptoms. Over two-thirds of people who complete either therapy have significantly reduced the frequency and severity of their symptoms.

CBT works by identifying problematic thoughts and behaviors and replacing them with healthier habits. ERP is a subset of CBT that specifically targets fears and obsessions. It works by carefully and gradually exposing one to their triggers and helping them resist compulsive rituals.

Other psychotherapy approaches that are recommended to a lesser degree include mindfulness, acceptance and commitment, stress management and relaxation, thought stopping, and dynamic therapies.

OCD Medications

Numerous different medications may be prescribed in the treatment of OCD depending on a patient’s unique condition and co-occurring disorders. SSRI antidepressant medications are often considered first-line medicines in the treatment of OCD.

Tricyclic antidepressant medications such as clomipramine might also be used if SSRI and therapy don’t prove to be effective.

Depending on the severity of one’s OCD, and if psychotic breaks are present, antipsychotic medications may be used alongside antidepressants. This is considered “augmentation therapy” and may be used if antidepressants haven’t been effective after three months of treatment.


Treatment in the form of Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) was approved by the FDA in 2018 to treat OCD. TMS has been around since the ’80s but has started to gain traction in the mental health industry as an effective treatment option for various mental illnesses.

TMS works by stimulating parts of the brain with magnetic waves, and it is entirely painless and non-invasive. Though it’s a newer treatment, it’s becoming more often accepted by insurance companies, especially for treatment-resistant illnesses.

Solara’s TMS Treatment in San Diego offers TMS to patients, and it is another reason we are the leading Mental Health Center in the area. You can read more about it on our TMS for OCD page.

Solara’s OCD Treatment for Veterans

OCD is a distressing mental illness characterized by obsessions and compulsions. The National Institute of Mental Health defines it as “uncontrollable, reoccurring thoughts (obsessions) and/or behaviors (compulsions) [of which a person] feels the urge to repeat over and over.” We focus on personalized treatment for veterans. Solara Mental Health in San Diego understands that each patient requires a unique treatment combined with a safe environment for healing.

Solara Mental Health is VA contracted as a community care provider, which gives us the unique opportunity to help veterans with their mental health needs, including OCD treatment. Once authorization is approved, we provide housing, transportation, and accommodations.

Start Your OCD Treatment in San Diego Today

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What Our Clients Say

M.P. – Father

Your program provided our daughter with the most masterful therapist we have ever encountered (and we have used many).  She has had an unbelievable ability to see the long-term trajectory of our daughter’s treatment and to approach her treatment in stages that fit where my daughter’s development was.  We can’t say enough positive about her.


The program has given me the tools I needed to really gain stability. For the first time in years - maybe for as long as I can remember, actually, I’m learning how to cope and manage my stressors and triggers. I now believe that I can find some relief and happiness.


Solara was truly a life-changing experience for me and for our children, because of what you did for my wife! The treatment team was phenomenally supportive and perfect for helping her with her anxiety and depression. We are all now moving forward to put our lives back together and it started with you all in Pacific Beach. Thank you for what you do.

R.M. – Father

If not for Solara Mental Health, I am almost positive that our daughter would not be as advanced in her treatment, and would not have the almost miraculous confident and positive outlook that she has.


Even though I’m not religious, I realized when I got sober that for the first time in my life I wanted to explore my spiritual side. I benefited hugely from the individual spiritual sessions that I had with Chris. I’m really grateful for that aspect of the whole treatment experience.

Michelle Family

I want to thank you and the entire staff and support system at Solara for taking such good care of my sister. On behalf of my entire family, we want you all to understand that your patience and kindness stretches further than you can see… Thank you, again and again, from the bottom of my heart.


I have never felt better than I do now, since completing your program. The truly caring and supportive staff and the intensive program changed my life. What a neat place to stay for treatment - I love Pacific Beach! I have learned skills and behavior to move forward with my life thanks to you.


We are so grateful to you for the treatment and care you provided our daughter. She is doing unbelievably well now thanks to your program. We will gladly tell anyone we encounter that needs treatment about the wonderful work you do at Solara.

Watson Family

Solara’s program was such a positive experience for our mom (and for us)! She had become almost impossible to deal with. Your entire staff was phenomenally supportive and kind and patient with her. We feel like we’ve got our mom back, now.


The therapists and counselors and really whole team were extremely beneficial to me and my understanding of my issues. The treatment plan they developed was exactly what I needed


The Solara program is truly amazing. I’ve never had more clarity or more good energy in my entire life. The attention the physicians and the therapists gave me was outstanding. I feel like they truly understood and addressed my issues, which had consumed my life for years. Thank you all.


The Solara Treatment Program was a life-changing experience for me. To be able to heal in such a beautiful, peaceful environment, with such a terrific treatment team, was so amazingly positive. I have found my true self, again. I thank you and my family thanks you for helping me become the person I was meant to be.