Several forms of treatment for obsessive compulsive disorder have been proven to be effective. People experiencing OCD or obsessive-compulsive disorder have very persistent, intrusive distressing or anxiety-provoking thoughts which they constantly worry about. They may inexplicably feel compelled to carry out any number of repetitive behaviors, which are in fact compulsions.
Those with OCD or obsessive compulsive disorder attempt over and over again to eliminate or reduce their obsessions by continually carrying out their ritualistic compulsive behaviors. The purpose of performing the compulsive behavior is to reduce the anxiety which is caused by the obsessive intrusive thoughts. An example would be a woman who is obsessing over the possibility that her hands might be dirty so she is compelled to wash them over and over again, up to 50 times a day. This is a hand washing compulsion.
People from anywhere and from all walks of life suffer from obsessive compulsive disorder or OCD. They might be very accomplished at their profession but with OCD they spend hours every day, most of the time by themselves, involved in carrying out their compulsions. There is a brilliant and very well-known and accomplished scientist who spends several hours every night literally on his knees, scrubbing and cleaning the grout between the tiles on the floor of his laboratory. He must keep it immaculate and totally free of dirt. He likely has a fear of germs or contamination fears.
Treatment for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
There are a number of different psychotherapeutic techniques that may be used in the treatment for obsessive compulsive disorder. One effective type of treatment is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). The psychotherapist helps the OCD patient recognize how unreasonable their intrusive, obsessive thoughts are. The therapist can teach the patient certain techniques to help eliminate the compulsions. These techniques might include:
- Habit Reversal – The patient is told to substitute an alternative response to the obsessive thought instead of the usual compulsion. This response might be deep breathing or something equally benign.
- Exposure & Response Prevention (ERP) – In a safe environment, the obsessive compulsive patient is gradually exposed to the kinds of situations that can trigger their obsessive thoughts. They agree to be prevented from carrying out the usual ritualistic compulsions. Then, the amount of time preventing the compulsions is gradually increased. The patient then realizes that nothing terrible has happened as a result of not performing their ritualistic compulsive behaviors.
- Saturation – Again, in the safety of a therapeutic atmosphere, the patient forces their brain to intensely focus on the obsessive thought until it loses its power and becomes meaningless.
- Thought Stopping – The patient purposefully stops themselves from highly specific, identified thoughts, and instead finds a distraction from the obsessive thought. Instead of thinking the obsessive thought they force themselves to think about a beautiful vacation spot, or the last quarter of the Super Bowl.
There are also medications that may help in the treatment for obsessive compulsive disorders (OCD). There are a number of different medications and if one isn’t effective in reducing the symptoms than perhaps another would be. However, even if you find one that works it is not likely to completely eliminate the symptoms of OCD. When SSRIs are combined with certain types of psychotherapy, the treatment is often more helpful than either treatment method used alone. Most people try more than one method, or even combine the approaches before they find relief.
However, if traditional psychotherapy and medication are not effective, a more intensive outpatient program may be helpful in the treatment for obsessive compulsive disorder. Because our treatment for anxiety programs rely on evidence based practices, our Intensive Outpatient Program shares many common methods with other successful treatment methods. The foundation of our treatment program for relies on the principles of the stages of change, cognitive behavioral therapy, solution focused treatment, skills training and identifying repetitive dysfunctional behavioral relationship patterns to promote recovery from depression and other mental health disorders. In fact, our Intensive Outpatient Program in Memphis, TN that has been proven to be effective in the treatment of these disorders in seven peer reviewed treatment outcome studies.
Our treatment center provides services to those who need more treatment than one hour a week, but less than 24 hour care, by providing three hours of treatment per day, three to five days per week, in an intensive outpatient setting. It is also important to keep in mind that women and men often experience depression differently and therefore the presence of depression may also appear differently based on gender. If you or a loved one is showing signs of depression or anxiety, including PTSD, they should be assessed by a trained mental health professional who can help design a treatment plan for depression that can result in recovery. Treatment for and anxiety disorders can be highly successful. People who have completed our program have provide very high consumer satisfaction scores and reviews. Call us at 901-682-6136 to schedule an appointment.