Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a disorder in which patients have intrusive thoughts that lead them to do repetitive behaviors to ease their anxiety. Treatment options for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, medication, and Psychotherapy can help the person suffering by reducing the frequency of compulsive behaviors.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, also known as CBT, is an effective way for treating Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. CBT is the training of a patient’s thought patterns so that compulsive behaviors are no longer necessary. It is a long and difficult process to overcome one’s OCD behavior. One specific type of CBT is Exposure and Response Therapy. This treatment option deals with the patient having to confront what causes them anxiety and for them to not perform the compulsive action that eases their anxiety. Jeremy Katz, a writer for Men’s Heath talks about how Exposure and Response therapy is one of the most successful treatment options for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. He explains how, “Repeated exposure to the source of the anxiety, the theory goes, will desensitize a person to it, robbing it of emotional power.” An example of Exposure and Response Therapy used on a patient is if the patient is a compulsive washer, he/she will be forced to touch toilets and will not be allowed to wash their hands. Another example of Exposure and Response Therapy is a patient was an obsessional fear of stabbing someone. He/she would be placed very close to knives for long periods of time. After Exposure and Response Therapy the patient would be able to stand behind someone with a knife in their hand. (Jeremy Katz 1) Finding a treatment option for children with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder can be difficult. There is evidence that Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a highly effective treatment for children for OCD. Even though, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy was originally used for adults with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder over the years, OCD specialists found out that making some limitations on the treatment can provide an effective form of treatment for children with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Some limitations include the decreasing of the amount of time in each session, the harshness of each session, and family involvement instead of the younger child going through Cognitive Behavioral Therapy alone. (Piacentini 1) A part of the “Exposure” in Exposure and Response Therapy is called In Vivo Exposure. This involves actually coming into contact with the anxiety-provoking situation. For example, an obsessive cleaner might be asked to put his/her hands in garbage or dirt. Another example is that an obsessive counter might be asked to flip the light switch an “unlucky” thirteen times. At first, the patient might just watch the therapist come into contact with the feared situation and not perform any compulsive behaviors. Later, the patient might be asked to follow what the therapist does and how to respond in this particular situation. (Kant 85) A study was done to see which form of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder treatment worked more efficiently, Cognitive Therapy or In Vivo Exposure. Seventy-one patients were randomly assigned to either In Vivo Exposure or cognitive therapy. Both of the treatments consisted of 16 sessions. There was no significant difference found between cognitive therapy and in vivo exposure as a form of treatment for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder patients. In both treatments, a large percent of patients were seen as “recovered” but Cognitive Therapy had a larger percent of “recovered” patients. Therefore, Cognitive Therapy is a more effective form of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder treatment than In Vivo Exposure. (Oppen 1) Another part of the “Exposure” in Exposure and Response Therapy is called Imagined Exposure. This involves coming into contact with the anxiety-provoking situation through mental imagery. For example, if someone has a compulsive fear of the possibility...
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