6 Things You Need to Know Before Starting OCD Treatment

Posted on June 10, 2015

1) Know that OCD is a physiological illness just like other illnesses.

It’s not your fault that you have OCD. OCD may target what you care about the most, and your obsessions may be related to or triggered by an event in your life. However, OCD has nothing to do with your character and your worth. It has to do with a neurological dysfunction in some of the structures and chemicals in your brain. Research also shows that OCD is most likely a genetic predisposition. Know that medication is relevant in treating Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

2) Understand that behavioral, cognitive, and environmental factors are also involved in OCD.

Thus, medication is often not enough. There might be some individuals who are fortunate to find relief from most of their symptoms once they start medication. However this doesn’t happen often. You need to understand that medication doesn’t take care of the mental and behavioral rituals. A combination of medication and psychotherapy will provide best results.

3) Be aware that that your compulsions heighten OCD symptoms.

You need a treatment that will help you understand how to decrease and eventually eliminate those compulsions. You’ll also need to be aware of your thinking errors and learn how to address them. Studies provide evidence that Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) that includes Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) is the psychotherapy of choice for OCD. CBT that includes ERP will provide the best opportunity to change your brain pathways. Be aware that not all CBT skills that are adequate for treating depression, anxiety and other disorders, are effective in treating OCD. OCD is a complicated illness and your provider needs to understand what elements of CBT are useful for treating OCD. Research is also showing that implementation of mindfulness skills will enhance the opportunity for success. The IOCD Foundation (iocdf.org) website is a great resource to keep you informed regarding evidence-based treatments for OCD.

4) Remember that “doing” is the key to success.

The question, “How can I make sure I remember what you are teaching me?” is often asked. The answer is usually, “Your OCD mind will ‘get it’ when you practice the skills.” This response may be difficult for some people who aren’t used to practicing the skills they are taught. Getting into new routines can be difficult and uncomfortable. This might be one of the grueling segments of treatment. The effectiveness of CBT, ERP, and mindfulness skills are tested as individuals climb to the top of the mountain — one step at a time. When individuals “graduate’ from treatment, they are asked, “What made the difference in your progress? What helped you the most?” They usually answer, “It was the exposures. When I was proactive in doing exposures, my OCD mind finally got it!”

5) Trust the process.

The research is there and if your treatment provider knows how to treat OCD, you will see the results. Put forth your best effort and you’ll have a meaningful and rich life despite OCD. It takes courage to climb up a mountain that you’ve never climbed before. But as you think of your life and where OCD has taken you or is taking you, it may be worth your effort. The climb may be arduous, but you and your loved ones will appreciate the results.

6) Take advantage of the relentlessness you have inherited from OCD.

OCD is a stubborn illness and most likely you have a stubborn streak within you. Turn it into strength. Become determined to climb the mountain. Endure it the best you can as you learn new skills for life.

To read the full article, click on the link below.

Category(s):Obsessions & Compulsions (OCD)

Source material from Psych Central