Despite the fact that much is known about Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, many general practioners and even some mental health professionals do not know enough about OCD or how to treat it.
Sufferers should have a good understanding of OCD, what obsessions and compulsions are, and be able to identify at least some of their own obsessions and compulsions. This will assist the suffer in explaining how the disorder manifests within them.
Along the same lines, for those who care for OCD sufferers, the same kind of knowledge is essential when beginning a treatment program. A good base knowledge of OCD and how it affects living can be very important when dealing with doctors and mental health professionals.
Whether accessing treatment publically or privately, it is a good idea to have a good understanding of the disorder and how it affects you or the person you care for.
OCD is a chronic medical condition but it is also treatable. People with OCD can learn to manage their symptoms so they don’t interfere with daily life and allow them to regain an improved quality of life. It is possible for some people to completely recover from OCD.
Left alone, OCD will get worse, feed upon itself and gain the power to have profound effects on the lives of sufferers. It is important to seek professional medical advice and support as soon as you recognize OCD symptoms.
The most effective treatment for OCD is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). In many CBT alone can be highly effective in the treatment of OCD. For some people a combination of CBT and medications is effective.
CBT is a type of talk therapy that works to change the way people think and behave. It focuses on the problems a person has in the here and now and helps them to explore and understand alternate ways of thinking (the cognitive side of CBT) and understand how to make behavioral changes (the behavioral side of CBT).
One type of CBT that has shown to have great success in the treatment of OCD is called Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP). This type of therapy works in a structured way to expose the sufferer to that which causes anxiety while working to not engage in compulsive behaviors.
Usually the first professional a sufferer will engage with is a general practitioner. That person can do an initial assessment and then refer the sufferer to a mental health professional. It is crucially important that the sufferer checks to make sure that the therapist they are referred to understands what CBT is and how to develop a treatment program centered on CBT.
Whether to begin a medication regimen is up to the sufferer, his or her doctor and carers, if the sufferer is under age. Medications should only be considered with a comprehensive treatment plan that includes CBT.
Some people will choose to go down the self help route as treatment. There are many books and websites dedicated to OCD where knowledge can be gained. People choosing this route should be cognizant that not all the information on the Internet is correct. There are also self help workbooks available.