What Is an Effective Treatment for OCD?

Ocd Massapequa, NY

Life for people with obsessive-compulsive disorder, or OCD, is not very pleasant. This mental illness involves obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors. When combined, individuals find themselves thinking and doing things out of their control. For someone with this disorder, it is critical they seek treatment from a therapist or psychiatrist.

The challenge

One thing that makes treating OCD difficult is that doctors and researchers in the medical field are not 100% sure what causes it. This condition is also similar to anxiety disorders, obsessive-compulsive personality disorder, or even schizophrenia. It is possible to have another mental ailment and OCD at the same time. Working with the attending doctor can help formulate the right diagnosis. This can then lead to the most appropriate treatment plan.

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor

This treatment for OCD, having the acronym SSRI, works by boosting serotonin in the brain: a chemical and neurotransmitter. When the levels fall within the normal range, people feel mentally good. Serotonin helps to regulate many things, including mood, memory, and sleep. It can also improve social behavior, digestion, sexual desire, and appetite. However, when serotonin levels drop too low, it can cause depression, anxiety, and OCD. When a therapist or psychiatrist uses SSRIs as treatment, patients begin to see a positive change.

Psychotherapy

Psychotherapy is another treatment for OCD. It includes both cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and exposure and response therapy (ERT). Depending on the patient and the severity of the illness, a therapist or psychiatrist may provide both forms of therapy. CBT, a type of psychological treatment, helps with many mental health issues. Included are depression, anxiety, eating disorders, drug and alcohol abuse, and OCD. OCD patients begin to regain control over their thoughts. In particular, CBT corrects unhealthy thought patterns and uncontrollable behaviors.

The other part of the treatment is ERT. This forces patients to face their worst fears. By exposing themselves to OCD triggers, patients learn to gain control of their compulsions. Someone with this mental illness should not confuse ERT with exposure and response prevention, which is entirely different.

Education

The more educated about OCD a person becomes, the better chance they have at recovery. Although there is no cure, people do benefit from coping mechanisms. OCD also causes guilt and doubt. In fact, these are hallmarks of the condition. In the 19th century, doctors referred to OCD as the “doubting disease.” These individuals second-guess every thought and behavior. Without help from a mental health doctor, many feel they are going crazy.

Of the two parts, obsessive thoughts are the most difficult to treat. The reason is that people with OCD can resist acting in a specific way. On the other hand, they cannot refuse to allow an obsessive thought to enter their minds. This creates a sense of disorder, fear, and confusion. For this, CBT is the treatment that physicians prefer because it gets results.

Length of treatment

The amount of time it takes for a patient with OCD to see improvement depends on several factors. A therapist must consider secondary concerns. This must happen along with thinking about the severity of this mental illness. For instance, it is common for patients to also live with depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and even tic disorders.

Considerations in discussing medications

Talking to the doctor about the appropriate medications for OCD is important. Choosing the right medications can help control the symptoms. Starting with the lowest dosage for every drug the doctor tries is a normal thing. The doctor may prescribe more than one type of medication. It often takes weeks or even months of taking a new medication before the patient notices symptom improvement.

Discussing the side effects with the doctor can help prepare the patient. The doctor can ask for the help of the patient’s family in keeping an eye on the patient’s condition while taking these drugs. Telling the doctor about any side effects is important. It can help treat them right away.

Patients, who are taking antidepressants, may have a reduced urge to commit suicide. But patients will still need someone to watch over them during the first weeks of taking the medications. The occurrence of any suicidal thoughts while taking the new medications is not a good thing. It is important to tell the doctor about it right away.

See a doctor for OCD treatment

If you or your child struggles with OCD, it is important to seek mental health care. The right doctor can even help with any secondary problems beyond obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors. Understanding OCD can help you accept the treatment plan and the diagnosis. Working with your mental health provider can give you back your control and your life.

Request an appointment here: https://www.evolvepsychiatry.com or call Evolve Psychiatry at (631) 773-1096 for an appointment in our Massapequa office.

Check out what others are saying about our services on Yelp: OCD in Massapequa, NY.

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