Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a mental health condition that leads to intrusive thoughts and fears that lead to ritualistic behaviors. The obsessions and compulsions can interfere with your ability to function at both home and work.
While untreated obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) can compromise the quality of your life, the right treatment can help you thrive. Board-certified psychiatrist, Dr. Hadi Estakhri diagnoses and treats OCD here at Allied Psychiatry and Mental Health in Newport Beach, California.
OCD treatment plans often rely on the combination of medication, therapy, and lifestyle modifications. If you’re considering therapy as part of your OCD treatment plan, you might wonder whether it will cure your condition, and that’s the topic we’ll cover in this article.
Here’s what you need to know.
The gold standard of OCD treatment
The American Psychological Association upholds that the most effective OCD treatments are medication and/or therapy.
Antidepressants are a type of medication that can reduce the symptoms of OCD. If you have OCD and depression, this strategy can help reduce your symptoms of both conditions.
Examples of antidepressants prescribed to treat OCD include:
- Clomipramine (Anafranil)
- Fluoxetine (Prozac)
- Paroxetine (Paxil, Pexeva)
- Sertraline (Zoloft)
This list is not exhaustive and Dr. E may prescribe other antidepressants and psychiatric medications.
Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) is a group of therapies. One type of CBT used to treat OCD is called Exposure and Response Prevention, or just ERP. The “exposure” element of ERP therapy refers to controlled exposure to the very thoughts or objects that make you anxious and trigger your obsessions.
The second part of the therapy 一 response prevention 一 focuses on controlling the responses you take when exposed to a trigger. This helps you reduce the urgency to act on compulsions. While this process starts in therapy, you learn how to do ERP exercises anywhere to manage your OCD symptoms.
Will therapy cure OCD?
At present, there isn’t a cure for OCD. That being said, therapy can help manage your OCD symptoms. Therapy helps by teaching you how to manage your obsessions and compulsions so they don't interrupt your life at home, at work, or in social settings. Because CBT helps restore connectivity between multiple networks in your brain, it helps you resist compulsions and adopt new thought processes.
Because of these effects of CBT on your brain, many people undergoing therapy can experience a remission of their OCD symptoms. Even if you don’t experience a full remission, therapy can reduce your symptoms and make your condition more manageable.
What to expect from therapy
Throughout your therapy sessions, you can expect to learn how to recognize your negative thoughts and fears and alter your emotional and behavioral responses to these thoughts. All therapy sessions are safe places where you can address your fears, concerns, and troubling issues you encounter.
When CBT is used to treat OCD, therapy sessions focus on specific problems. You can expect to take what you learn during your therapy and apply it at home through specific activities, reading, or other practices we discuss. These strategies and activities can help you resist the temptation to give in to compulsions, whether they be counting, re-checking, or rearranging, without feeling anxious.
If you’re struggling to manage your OCD, don’t hesitate to reach out. OCD is treatable, and we’re just a call or click away. You can reach our Newport Beach, California office at 949-258-7135. You can also use our online portal to request an appointment.