Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, or OCD, involves having obsessive thinking patterns that can include unwanted thoughts, images or urges that make a person feel anxious or distressed.
Individuals who have OCD often have significant difficulty pushing away or ignoring these thoughts. Those with OCD also have compulsive behaviors which are an attempt to reverse the obsessive thoughts or urges by performing some sort of action.
Common signs of OCD are:
- Intrusive thoughts
- Constant checking
- Constant counting
- The repeated cleaning of one or more items
- Constantly checking the stove or door locks
- Fear of contamination
- Thoughts that you might be harmed
- Thoughts that you might cause others harm
- Sexual Obsessions
Exposure and Response Prevention
Many patients benefit from a specific type of CBT known as exposure and response prevention therapy, or ERP. This is often referred to as the gold-standard behavioral therapy approach for OCD.
This treatment, which is well supported by research, involves exposing the patient to triggers that cause their anxiety and teaching them to no longer respond to the exposure with rituals or compulsions. A specific treatment plan is created for each individual. ERP should be used with an OCD specialist.