Most people who get the right treatment see a significant improvement in their OCD. This page covers:
Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)
CBT is a talking treatment that focuses on how your thoughts, beliefs and attitudes affect your feelings and behaviour.
There's a lot of evidence that CBT is effective for treating OCD. But it can be challenging and may make you feel more anxious at first. Talk to your doctor or psychiatrist about whether you are ready to start CBT.
OCDAction have a CBT checklist to help you make sure that the CBT you are receiving is the most effective for treating OCD. See our pages on CBT for more information.
I started to learn how to manage my OCD when I spoke to a therapist.
Listen to Faisal explain why he didn't feel able to talk to friends and family when he first started experiencing obsessions and compulsions, and how CBT has helped him manage:
Find out more about our podcasts or subscribe to our podcast on iTunes or Audioboom.
Exposure and response prevention (ERP)
ERP is a type of CBT that is recommended for treating OCD. ERP works by helping you confront your obsessions and resist the urge to carry out compulsions.
During ERP your therapist will support you to deliberately put yourself in a situation that would usually make you feel anxious. Instead of performing your usual compulsion you will be encouraged to try and tolerate the anxiety. Your therapist may even suggest that you do something that makes you feel even more anxious.
ERP helps you to see that the uncomfortable feelings will eventually go away even if you don't perform a compulsion. As ERP continues people find that their obsessions cause them less anxiety and the anxiety they do feel goes away faster. They feel less need to do compulsions. This is called habituation.
You would always start by confronting situations you find easy and building up slowly to more difficult situations.
It's hugely frustrating and exhausting trying to break out of patterns that you know aren't helpful or healthy. But you can eventually achieve fresh change that seemed impossible.