Accurate Information About OCD
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Effective Treatment for OCD - Cognitive Behavior Therapy

The only scientifically supported behavioral treatment for OCD is Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT), sometimes accompanied by medication.  It is recommended by such leading authorities as the National Institutes of Mental Health, the Mayo Clinic and Harvard Medical School.

Cognitive Behavior Therapy makes use of two behavior-altering techniques—Exposure and Response Prevention therapy (ERP) and Cognitive Therapy. 

In Exposure and Response Prevention therapy, a trained and experienced cognitive behavior therapist conducts a series of controlled ERP sessions. The OCD sufferer is put in situations in which he or she is exposed to their obsessions and gradually prevented from performing the accompanying compulsions.

When therapeutic exposures are repeated over time, the associated anxiety shrinks until it is barely noticeable or even fades entirely.  The therapist guides the person to then take on more challenging exposures until those, too, become manageable.  Effective ERP leads to “habituation”, the process of losing the automatic fear response to obsessions, which leads to the very important realization that nothing bad happens when they stop performing compulsive rituals.

The therapist also helps the OCD sufferer gain confidence and special skills to control the compulsion through the second form of therapy, Cognitive Therapy and sometimes metacognition (what we think about thinking processes).

Most ERP treatment is conducted on an outpatient basis once a week with exercises to practice at home between sessions.  In severe cases, some people may require more frequent sessions or residential treatment.

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