If you struggle with life-altering Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, also known as OCD, then understanding your treatment options is a critical first step toward regaining control of your life. While OCD may seem insurmountable, there are highly effective treatments available that target its core symptoms. By building healthier thought and behavioral patterns, you can overcome the challenges of OCD and create a healthier, happier life for yourself.
This post will help equip you with the knowledge and verification necessary to decide which path may be best for you. Discover how professional help can improve your quality of life with this overview of the top treatment options for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.
What Is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder?
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder centers on intrusive and unwanted thoughts that create overwhelming feelings of anxiety and distress. People with OCD often feel compelled to engage in rituals and behaviors to ease their anxiety. These compulsions can range from simple activities to more complex, time-consuming rituals or obsessions. Examples of unwanted and disruptive tendencies that can stem from OCD include:
- Excessive handwashing
- Checking locks on doors and windows several times
- Obsessively worrying about dirt, germs, or other forms of contamination
- Meticulously counting or organizing items
- Repeating words or phrases in an attempt to calm down
Though most people have their own habits and routines they follow, individuals with OCD consider these rituals to be a necessity rather than a simple routine. As a result, these behaviors become time-consuming and all-encompassing; not completing them can lead to intense feelings of fear, anxiety, and other emotional distress.
When Is It Time To Seek Treatment?
It isn’t always easy to tell the difference between normal habits or feelings of perfectionism and behaviors or symptoms of OCD. The key difference is that OCD negatively impacts daily lives and routines. An individual with OCD will have excessive fear or anxiety regarding the subject of their OCD, such as cleanliness or safety.
These fears and anxieties lead to obsessions in the form of intrusive thoughts or compulsions, which in turn create patterns of behavior that take up large amounts of time and energy. When these symptoms interfere with everyday life, it’s time to seek out help from a Licensed Clinical Psychologist.
Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a form of Psychotherapy that helps individuals understand and modify their thoughts, feelings, and actions in order to navigate challenging life circumstances. CBT is a popular form of evidence-based therapy that is useful in treating a wide range of Mental Health Disorders, including OCD.
Through this type of therapy, psychologists identify maladaptive thought patterns that can lead to problematic habits, rituals, and behaviors that stem from OCD in individual patients. This helps the psychologist to isolate maladaptive thoughts that influence the patients in their daily functioning and to modify their behaviors that are problematic for their patients. By exploring these connections and teaching the individual how to reframe and restructure maladaptive thoughts into healthier ones, CBT helps patients overcome OCD symptoms and avoid negative outcomes.
The goal of this treatment approach is to help individuals identify and change negative and harmful patterns that take them hostage with feelings of fear, anxiety, and discomfort from OCD symptoms. This includes helping individuals challenge and alter unrealistic beliefs regarding their own guilt, responsibility, or worthiness. Additionally, CBT can teach individuals specific strategies as well as techniques for building self-confidence to counterattack fears related to OCD. With these benefits of CBT, patients learn effective ways to govern their reactions when experiencing intrusive thoughts and compulsions associated with OCD.
Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP)
Exposure and Response Prevention treatment (ERP) helps individuals with OCD face their obsessions and compulsions in a productive manner. ERP works by teaching individuals to confront their fears gradually within a safe environment alongside their Licensed Clinical Psychologist. With support, guidance, and interventions under the care of their psychologist, they can learn to resist the compulsive responses they have to certain stimuli. Over time, this helps them build emotional resilience and develop tangible skills for future situations.
ERP takes time and effort, but it allows individuals to reframe and restructure negative patterns and thoughts stemming from their past experiences and beliefs about themselves, including the world around them. This ultimately reduces and eliminates the impact of OCD. Through ERP, it is possible for individuals with OCD to overcome their intense fears and anxieties to regain control of their lives.
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is another top treatment option for OCD. This form of Psychotherapy focuses on helping people take ownership of their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Its goal is to help individuals create an emotionally balanced life without having to change those aspects of themselves they cannot control and instead focus on their own reactions and interpretations. This empowers the patient and allows them to accept and feel negative emotions rather than trying to avoid them, which leads to a greater sense of overall well-being and achieving a fulfilling life.
ACT helps treat OCD by teaching patients the necessary strategies that promote self-compassion, mindfulness, reality-acceptance, and values-driven action. These techniques and strategies allow individuals with OCD to make functional choices that line up with their personal goals, value systems, and principles leading them to achieve a transformational future that is fulfilling and adaptive. With ACT, individuals learn to face their uncomfortable and distressing obsessive thoughts without judgment instead of trying to suppress or ignore them. This, in turn, allows individuals to move on with their day-to-day activities and gain control of their feelings and behaviors.
The Importance of a Multi-Faceted Approach
When it comes to treating OCD, a one-size-fits-all approach is not the way to go. OCD affects everyone differently, and it’s important to address these differences within your treatment plan.
Licensed Clinical Psychologists who treat OCD understand that needs and circumstances play a major role in treatment success. While there is no single cure for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, a multi-step approach that uses various evidence-based therapies and treatment modalities can be the key to overcoming symptoms, regaining control of thoughts and behaviors, and create a functional lifestyle for the patient.
With careful planning and a personalized approach to treatment, it is possible to find effective ways of managing and overcoming Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.
Benefits of Seeking Professional Help for OCD Treatment
Seeking professional help from a Licensed Clinical Psychologist is the best way to face and eventually overcome OCD. Licensed Clinical Psychologists are able to create specialized treatment plans that use scientific-based therapies and treatments to address a client’s specific symptoms, troubling thought patterns, and maladaptive behaviors.
Dr. Blair is an experienced Licensed Clinical Psychologist working in LA, Beverly Hills, Irvine, Newport Beach, and the surrounding areas. If you’re seeking anxiety therapy in Irvine for OCD or other Anxiety Disorders, let Blair Wellness Group help. Make an appointment today and start your journey toward better health and happiness.