Watch Dr. Sylvia Gearing describe how she usually treats Obsessive Compulsive Disorder at Gearing Up - click here.
Around 80% of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, or OCD, cases see no improvement without professional treatment.
Most people require specialized treatment for OCD or they remain trapped in the cycle of intrusive thoughts and behavioral compulsions they believe will prevent disaster. They develop an addiction to the OCD thought-behavior cycle since the link between anxiety, action, and momentary relief is so concrete.
Research has found that most people have over 500 obsessive, intrusive thoughts per day.
However, the OCD cycle begins when the thoughts and behaviors begin to be used to intentionally soothe anxiety. At some point, the mind establishes a link between the obsessive thought, the compulsive behavior, and the magical ability to relieve stress. We begin to use it in our coping tool kit to deal with everyday stress, and it can eventually crowd out our other coping strategies since it feels so effective.
Here are some of the therapeutic approaches we use to treat OCD at Gearing Up:
Using the techniques of mindfulness, you can retrain your brain to calm down in seconds while still remaining present in what is happening around you. Research has found that regular mindfulness practice can literally reorganize and physically rewire the pathways in the brain to change how we think. We are able to focus on our problems as temporary, solvable issues. When we regain control of our thoughts and anxiety, we can solve problems calmly and effectively without the use of any compulsive behaviors for relief.
Since the OCD cycle takes root with obsessive thoughts, we have to change how you think. Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, or CBT, can teach you how to correct inaccurate thoughts and dispute negative beliefs. You’ll be able to tame your overwhelming emotions and dodge the thinking traps that can sabotage your thinking. CBT helps put you back in control of your thoughts and actions to break the OCD cycle once and for all.
Anxiety and Depression Association of America (www.ADAA.org)
"Treatment Plans and Interventions for Depression and Anxiety Disorders, Second Edition" by Robert Leahy, Stephen Holland, and Lata McGinn