Techniques for Managing OCD
- Cognitive Behavior Therapy
- Exposure and Response Prevention
- Traditional Talk Therapy
- Lifestyle and Family Counseling
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a relatively common psychological health concern that impacts millions of people across the United States. The condition is characterized by intrusive reoccurring thoughts with accompanying repetitive behaviors, although manifestations of these behaviors depend on the individual. Despite its prevalence among people of all ages and backgrounds, there are still many unknowns regarding diagnostic boundaries and potential risk factors or causes.
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1. Cognitive Behavior Therapy
The field of cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) encompasses a wide range of methodologies for dealing with behavioral and other psychological disorders. Applied behavior analysis (ABA) is one of the most established CBT methods and has proven effective for managing some of the issues associated with OCD. ABA and most cognitive therapies are tailored to the needs of each patient. Psychologists typically quantify results so they can measure progress and improve the program over time.
2. Exposure and Response Prevention
Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) is a branch of CBT that is regarded as one of the most effective ways to treat OCD, according to the International OCD Foundation. This form of therapy centers around repeatedly exposing a patient to triggers in the form of images, thoughts or physical objects. Patients are encouraged to avoid associated compulsive activity during the exposures, which get progressively longer through the course of the treatment. While this method can be initially uncomfortable, it can drastically improve the patient’s life by reducing anxiety and compulsive behavior.
3. Traditional Talk Therapy
Conversational counseling has a place in almost all forms of psychological treatment. It may be a mild approach, but creating an accommodating environment where patients can speak openly can be a powerful therapy. Guided conversations can provide an opportunity for self-exploration and development for participants. Talk therapy is one of the options open to those seeking relief from OCD, although it is usually used alongside other forms of therapy in moderate or severe cases.
4. Lifestyle and Family Counseling
Like any psychological disorder, OCD has the biggest impact in the patient’s daily life whether it’s at school, work or home. Adjusting routine habits and day-to-day activities can help the individual overcome their triggers and compulsions. Psychologists working with younger patients typically engage in family OCD therapy to educate family members on strategies for dealing with the condition at home.
There are several different antidepressant medications commonly prescribed to manage the impact and symptoms of OCD. Doctors may switch the prescription between them or seek out a different medication to find one that provides safer and more effective relief. There are some notable risks associated with OCD medications, including an increased suicide risk.
There is no single cure or guaranteed treatment to fix behavioral disorders, but there are several modern techniques that show promising results. Anyone who has been diagnosed with the disorder should consult with their psychologist to determine what type of OCD therapy to pursue.