Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

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The phrase “You are so OCD” tends to get thrown around when people talk about individuals who are detailed, meticulous, or wanting to be in control, and is usually said in a jokingly manner.  For individuals who struggle with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), it is far from a joke. People with obsessive-compulsive disorder suffer intensely from repeated unwanted thoughts and subsequent rituals which they feel are out of their control.

The primary treatment modalities for OCD are Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT)/Exposure Response Prevention (ERP), and a medication regimen.  Education about OCD is also an important component of treatment.  The purpose of education is to promote the individual’s ability to separate the OCD from themselves, and to gain greater insight into the fallacy of their OCD beliefs.  A big part of CBT/ERP is to increase the individual’s capacity to feel the anxiety without participating in the compulsive rituals. ERP gradually exposes the individual to the thoughts and images that trigger the obsessions and anxiety without conducting the compulsive behaviors.

While the treatment regimen for OCD is not easy, it has been shown to be the most effective way of treating OCD.  Going to those places that bring on the anxiety and distress from the obsessive thoughts utilizing subjective units of distress (SUDS), and without performing the compulsive act, initially is very hard.  However, over time you will notice a drop in your level of anxiety when you stay exposed without conducting the behavior,  This is known as habituation.