What Are The Best OCD Therapy Options?

Reviewed by Whitney White, MS CMHC, NCC., LPC

Published 12/23/2020

OCD or Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder is a mental condition that can have a great impact on someone’s life. It may also disrupt how they behave and think, which can keep them from being able to get important things accomplished. Keep reading for more information on OCD, including the best therapy options available to treat this condition.

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What Is OCD?

OCD is a disorder which is characterized by obsessions and compulsions. Someone that experiences OCD will likely experience both things, and they may be difficult to control. OCD can make it challenging for people to have friendships, work, or even get through school.

Obsessions And Examples

Obsessions refer to thoughts or feelings that are recurring and don’t easily go away. Some examples include being afraid of germs, thinking germs are on everything, or having unwanted thoughts that are violent or sexual in nature.

Compulsions And Examples

Compulsions are acted upon, in some cases, because of an obsession that is being expressed. A few examples are having to clean something many times, needing to disinfect anything you touch or needing to organize many things in your house in a certain way.

Symptoms

Here are some of the most common symptoms experienced with OCD.

  • Obsessions
  • Compulsions
  • Feeling little pleasure overall
  • Problems thinking clearly

If you are experiencing symptoms related to OCD, please take this OCD test to learn more about the treatment of the disorder.

Getting Checked Out

If you experience obsessions or compulsions, you should consider seeing a doctor or mental health professional as soon as you notice them. Additionally, if you spend 1 hour or more on compulsive behaviors, this is another indication that you need to seek treatment for your OCD.

A doctor or mental health professional may have trouble diagnosing you if they cannot note all of the symptoms you are experiencing, so when you meet with a doctor, you should talk to them about all of the symptoms you are experiencing. Be honest and discuss all the things you are feeling and doing, so they will be able to work on a treatment plan that will benefit you.

OCD Treatments

In terms of OCD treatment, there are a few options available. In many cases, a psychiatrist will utilize both medication and therapy for a well-rounded treatment plan. This is explained in Psychiatry, and the study also indicates that these two options are effective in many cases of OCD. This means they are the best treatments for OCD, in some instances.

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Prescriptions

There are multiple medicines that a doctor may prescribe to a person experiencing OCD, depending on the severity of their symptoms. Many experts recommend medicines as the first type of treatment for OCD and that the medicines should be taken for a few weeks to determine if there are any changes in how a person feels. A 2017 study lays out the use of prescriptions and how a patient should be monitored for up to 12 weeks to see if a medicine is acting in the way that it should. If it isn’t, another medicine should be tried instead.

Therapy

Therapy, namely psychotherapy, can also be helpful in terms of treating OCD. This is because OCD therapy may allow a person experiencing OCD to learn how to think and act differently. It might also help them learn how to control and work through their anxiety. If you are wondering about the best therapy for OCD, you can speak to your doctor for information about therapy or seek out the guidance of a licensed mental health professional. They will be able to determine what is the best type of therapy for your symptoms.

At-Home Treatments

When you are taking advantage of treatment for OCD, there are other things that you can do at home, which may be able to benefit you as well. These things may allow you to figure out how to treat OCD in your case.

Follow Your Doctor’s Advice

Once you start working with a doctor to get treatment for OCD, listening to them is important. This includes doing what they tell you to do and taking your medicines. Another aspect related to this is making sure that you discuss any issues that come up with them. For example, if your symptoms change or you experience additional symptoms, these are things that your mental health professional needs to know about. It is sometimes necessary to change a treatment plan from time to time, but you will need to keep communication open and be honest to get the best treatment for you. After all, when you are getting the proper treatment, you have the best chance to see a lessening of symptoms over time.

Eat Right

Another thing that is good for your treatment and health is eating right since it is necessary to take care of yourself. Do your best to eat balanced meals and the proper number of calories each day.

Sleep Right

Sleeping at night is something helpful as well. Try to get around 7 hours of sleep each night. Keep in mind that sleeping too much can make you feel tired, much like sleeping too little. 

Exercise

Exercising is good for your body, and it may also help you work through anxiety and stress. You can opt to exercise by yourself or get a buddy to go with you. When you get moving, it can also help your mood, even if you only exercise for a few minutes at a time.

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Talk To Loved Ones

You may feel like you want to push people away, or you need to spend time by yourself when you are getting treatment, but this doesn’t have to be the case. You can choose to spend time with those you care about and trust, so you can get advice and talk to them about things that are going on with you. When you have days that are difficult for you, choosing to talk to a friend or scheduling an extra session with your therapist might keep you on the right track.

If you don’t have many people you trust, you can also think about joining a support group. There are likely groups near you that consist of others that are seeking treatment for OCD or have in the past. Talking to people who are going through the same things you are could make you feel at ease and help you feel better about what you are going through. You can also connect with groups on social media concerning this if you cannot meet with them face to face.

Take It Slow

Any big change in life can be overwhelming. When you are trying to work through your treatment plan, you should do your best to relax and take it today. When you need to take a break or need a moment to yourself, you should take a minute for yourself. You can get a massage or meditate to relax. Each day you work through a step towards feeling better and seeing a difference in your symptoms.

Get A Hobby

Since the nature of OCD is to take up a lot of your time, it may be a positive thing to consider getting a hobby. You might choose to start drawing, writing, or doing something else. Your hobby can allow you to focus on something you like doing, which may also reduce your anxiety and stress levels. Staying busy can also allow you to think less about your obsessions and compulsions, which may make a big difference as you are taking advantage of treatment.

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Outlook

When you experience OCD and are looking for the best treatment out there, everyone will be different. It is necessary to seek out treatment whenever you feel that you need it to see a difference as soon as possible. Getting treatment for this condition may allow you to see a difference in the frequency of your obsessions and compulsions. In some cases, you will learn how to better control these things and work through the anxiety you get. Moreover, you might spend less time each day on your compulsions, which means you will have more time to do the things you need to do.

Keep an open mind and work with your doctor and be sure, to be honest with them. Talk to them about all your symptoms, so they will offer you options that are specially targeted for your OCD. In turn, this can give you a better chance of seeing a difference in these symptoms as you continue with your treatment.