OCD is most effectively treated with evidenced based therapy called Exposure and Response Prevention.
What is ERP?
ERP is a component of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and considered the “treatment of choice” for obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). ERP is also utilized for treating other mental health conditions, such as phobias, panic disorders, generalized anxiety disorders and social anxiety. This method gradually exposes a patient to feared thoughts, images or impulses which decreases anxiety and distress over time.
How does ERP work?
Someone suffering from OCD experiences obsessions and compulsions. An obsession refers to a feared situation that causes anxiety. Compulsions are repetitive behaviors used to reduce the anxiety brought on by the obsession.
ERP helps you gradually confront obsessions and compulsions using:
Exposure: gradual and repetitive exposure to a feared situation
Response prevention: avoiding the impulse to use a compulsive behavior
The goal of ERP is to be exposed to a feared situation while avoiding the compulsive behavior long enough that the anxiety decreases.
This way of reducing anxiety is called habituation. You learn that if you sit with your anxiety long enough, it will decrease on its own.
What type of OCD is treated?
Although I treat all forms of OCD, I specialize in treating "Pure-O." This just means that the upsetting thoughts are internalized. You are likely engaging in mental compulsions, such as ruminating. Many people suffer with OCD and face internal distress. Family members, romantic partners, and friends are often unaware of your suffering.
There are many types of OCD.
Harm OCD, POCD, Sexual Orientation OCD, Relationship OCD, Post-Partum OCD, Magical Thinking OCD, Religious OCD, Real Event OCD, Existential OCD, Just Right/Symmetry OCD, Checking OCD, Contamination OCD, Health OCD, Sensorimotor OCD, Hit and Run OCD.
Want an alternative to ERP?
Although ERP is the "gold standard" treatment for anxiety disorders, other treatment options are available. Contact me to discuss your needs.