Why do Individuals Resist Treatment for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder?

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Why do Individuals Resist Treatment for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder?

Treatment for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder is no walk in the park. It requires commitment, determination, and dedication. It also requires working with a therapist that you trust. When we think of therapy, we think of things that will make us feel better, right? So what is it about OCD therapy that makes it so difficult?

The best and most effective treatment for OCD is called Exposure Response Prevention (ERP) Therapy. This therapy is designed to recondition your misguided instinctual responses to fears you have misconstrued as dangerous to you or your loved ones. Because many people have lived with OCD for many years before they seek proper treatment, their fear responses have become engrained in their neuro-pathways. Trying to convince an individual, ‘well, just do the opposite and you’ll be better’ is no easy task! The fears individuals have been performing compulsions repetitively for years to escape have become deeply embedded not only in their physical reaction, but their emotional response as well. It is a delicate web to untangle.

On top of not wanting to face the anxiety individuals have done everything in their power to avoid, individuals may face other fears in the wake of starting therapy.

• What if therapy works for everyone but me?
• What if I don’t really have OCD and I’m just a monster?
• What if therapy proves my obsessions are real?
• What if therapy eliminates my anxiety and then I act on the obsessions?
• Who will I be without OCD?
• What will I do with my life when I am not ritualizing every day?
• What if I am not unique anymore after my OCD is gone?

These questions are just to name a few of the fears that may pop up before or even during therapy. A trained therapist will likely not answer these questions or give reassurance to avoid becoming part of the compulsive cycle. Facing these questions head on while maintaining the courage to follow through with the exposures can make an individual feel overwhelmed and afraid to continue therapy.

If you are feeling these terrifying fears, you are not alone. Most people experience one, more than one, or all of the above fears and more when getting treatment for OCD. You are changing the way that you respond and how you are conditioned to behave in the face of the obsessions that have ruled your life. Of course you are going to resist! It is natural for us as humans to do what we know to be safe and provide relief, even if it is temporary relief by performing an OCD compulsion. The questions arise because we are retraining our responses and we feel fear. But along with the obsessions, we must face these questions in order to condition a new response and learn to manage OCD.

Peer Support Specialists can help by using their lived experience with OCD and treatment to help navigate these fears while working through therapy. An OCD peer support specialist is an individual who is living in recovery from OCD. Being able to work with someone who has ‘been there’ and can help ease the anxiety of feeling alone and afraid in therapy can be a huge benefit in staying the course through treatment.

For more information about peer support, or for referrals and resources in your area, go to www.treatmentforocd.com and fill out the contact sheet so Chrissie Hodges can help you get on the path to recovery for OCD.

Help with OCD

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Help with OCD

Obsessive-Compulsive disorder is an illness where individuals experience unwanted, intrusive obsessions accompanied by anxiety. To alleviate the debilitating anxiety, individuals perform mental or physical compulsions for temporary relief. When experiencing symptoms of OCD, it may seem impossible to find help and hope that symptoms can be manageable and a normal life can ensue. But, there is help for OCD and effective treatment that allows individuals to learn, understand, and manage symptoms as they arise, enabling them to live a successful life with OCD.

The first line of defense for OCD is therapy, medication, or a combination of both. Certain medications can help alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression associated with OCD. Talk to your doctor to find the most effective medications and the right dosage to help with your symptoms of OCD. If an individual is interested in managing OCD symptoms without medication, therapy is the most effective way to do so.

Exposure Response Prevention (ERP) therapy is the gold-standard for treating OCD. OCD therapists are well versed in understanding OCD symptoms and how to teach and guide individuals through ERP therapy in a safe and structured way. It is not recommended to do ERP therapy without a therapist who is trained and specializes in treating OCD. Finding the right therapist can help you get started on the right OCD treatment plan in learning to manage the symptoms.

There are many ways to get supplemental help for OCD in addition to therapy. Many therapists use mindfulness techniques and/or Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) which uses mindfulness to help recognize and manage obsessions and compulsions. Peer support specialists can provide help for OCD by using their lived experience to support individuals through therapy and beyond as they work toward recovery. Also, support groups and online support groups can help individuals with OCD feel less alone with their symptoms and the stigma of living with mental illness.

There are many types of avenues to find help for OCD, the most important part is finding the right help and professionals that specialize in treating OCD. If you are looking for a therapist and/or resources in your area to help with OCD, please contact Chrissie Hodges for a consultation or peer support session at www.treatmentforocd.com. Chrissie can help you find the right path in working toward your own recovery from OCD.