OCD, if left unattended, can have a significant negative impact on your life. It fills your mind with obsessions of the irrational, horrific and relentless nature and compulsions. Can it be cured? As of now, OCD has no known cure, just like many other forms of mental illnesses. It is more of a chronic illness that you learn how to live with through management. As hard as it is to accept this diagnosis, the best way forward is to shift your focus from accessing a once and for all cure, to daily management.
What forms does the treatment of OCD take?
No medicinal silver bullet can eliminate the symptoms of OCD. Getting into a regimen of meds can reduce up to 70 percent of your OCD symptoms, which is generally a good outcome. As effective as medication may be, relying on meds only as your primary form of treatment means that you probably won’t get full relief from all your symptoms.
Worse is the danger or relapse if, for any reason, you are unable to keep up with your regimen. Because treatment is more about control than cure, it is tempting to get off of them when they are working well. This will cause your body chemistry to revert to its unhealthy state within a period of a few weeks.
Combining medication with cognitive behavioral therapy is the best comprehensive approach to the treatment of OCD. The medicine will assist you to undergo therapy, and reduce the edge off of anxiety and obsession.
The use of psychiatric drugs has a lot of stigmas attached to it. This is something you have to look out for when on medical treatment. Always remember that your body chemistry is unlike that of other people, and requires the chemicals in these drugs to work well. You are not weak, or crazy; you are different because your brain chemistry needs these aids for you to live a fruitful life.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
OCD is exhausting and can take a toll on your life, but it responds very well to CBT. CBT is in fact regarded as OCD’s best form of treatment. Why? OCD’s behavioral components are more of a genetic origin rather than psychological. This makes ordinary therapy talk or the reviewing of past experiences in a bid to understand your present circumstances ineffective. Thought stopping or relaxation training will not offer much of a result either.
The best route to take in CBT for OCD is exposure and response prevention or ERP. This treatment helps you confront your scary situations and thoughts while opposing the performance of your compulsions. ERP ensures that you get into contact with the situation that brings the onset of your anxiety, to help you develop a tolerance to the triggers.
With time, this will make you learn that if you don’t act compulsively while taking protective measures, nothing will happen to you. The fear that fuels OCD develop when you don’t stay with your fear long enough to unmask it and its imagined results. Expose yourself to these fears long enough, and you will get exhausted of them. The thought will be worn out.
To eliminate the compulsions, ERP teaches you to test the probability of the realization of your fears. It also helps you question the underlying logic that feeds these fears. There is a lot of bizarre and irrational thinking to these fears, and once you recognize this, the compulsive behavior will be tackled most effectively.
A few pointers to help you get the best out of OCD treatment
- Learn to manage your anxiety on your own. Don’t place that task in the hands of those around you, because you’re mostly by yourself at most times. If you don’t take this responsibility head-on when your designated helpers are away, you will be rendered helpless and immobile.
- Keep your motivation to get away from the clutches of OCD top notch. Your motivation shouldn’t stem from what other people want, it should stem from you wanting the best for your well-being. OCD is chronic, so the fight is on for life. Get motivated enough to wake up and duel with it daily.
- Proper OCD treatment will empower you to become your own therapist. It will teach you how to manage your symptoms effectively. As you get better at ERP, your therapist will gradually shift the responsibility of directing your treatment to you. This will make you independent while learning how to handle challenges in the long term.