Patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) are plagued by intrusive thoughts and excessive fears that spur them to do repetitive acts as a way to ease the stress. To explicate, the term “obsessive” refers to the unwanted, distressing thoughts or sensations, while “compulsive” refers to the behaviors a person engages in to soothe their distress.
These obsessions and compulsions are cyclical; they can make living a normal life a real challenge and ultimately affect a person’s interactions with their loved ones.
Fortunately, OCD is highly treatable. A psychiatrist can use a combination of the following approaches to help a person tame the mental condition and go on to lead a normal life.
While they do not cure the condition, medications for OCD help significantly control obsessive compulsions. Depending on the severity, there are some people who may need intensive, long-term treatment.
Medications typically prescribed for OCD are antidepressants, such as Prozac, Luvox, Paxil, and Zoloft.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy is an umbrella term that encompasses two psychotherapy approaches for OCD: exposure and response prevention (ERP) and cognitive therapy (CT).
ERP involves exposing the patient to their worst fears. Over time, as the patient is repeatedly exposed to the obsessive thoughts that elicit anxiety in them, they will be able to prevent engaging in compulsive, ritualistic acts. ERP takes place in a doctor’s office and takes time and practice to become successful.
With cognitive therapy, the psychiatrist will examine the patient’s harmful thought patterns, helping the patient resist the urge to resort to compulsive acts whenever exposed to them and offering up alternatives. Research shows that perceiving negative thoughts as something important and attempting not to have “bad” thoughts can actually produce the opposite effect. Habit Reversal Training
Habit reversal training (HRT) is an evidence-based behavioral therapy for OCD patients of any age. HRT is a highly effective approach for people with unwanted repetitive behaviors, such as nail-biting, skin picking, hair pulling, to name a few.
HRT includes relaxation techniques, awareness training, positive reinforcement, and social support. Awareness training involves practicing the habit or tic (involuntary compulsions), focusing on the patient’s body sensations and specific muscles, and identifying when the habit or tic occurs. Such technique promotes cognizance of how and when the urges come about, helping the person intervene and shift their attention.
First-Rate OCD Treatment in New York and Connecticut
At Psy-Visions, Dr. Mark Stracks specializes in the treatment of a gamut of mental health disorders, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder. We will develop an effective, personalized treatment plan that perfectly suits your needs.
At Psy-Vision, we offer telepsychiatry services—which allows for evaluation and treatment via a virtual visit. This is beneficial, especially for patients living in rural areas and those who are leery of making any direct interaction during the COVID-19 pandemic.
If you have questions about OCD treatment or would like to make an appointment with Dr. Stracks, call our New York clinic at (718) 887-2918 or our Connecticut clinic at (203) 405-1745. You can also use our online request form.