Treatments for obsessive compulsive disorder

The first step to getting help for your mental health is to speak to your GP. They will ask you about the symptoms you’re experiencing, how long they last, the impact on your life and your family history. You may also be referred to a specialist mental health team who can work with your doctor to find the right treatment plan. If you feel the treatment isn’t working for you, you can discuss this with your GP and look at alternatives.

There are several ways to manage OCD. It’s usually a combination of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), exposure response prevention (ERP) and medication.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) helps you to understand how you think, feel and behave. It allows you to better understand your thinking patterns and how you react in situations.

Exposure Response Prevention (ERP) involves being carefully exposed to the things that are causing you anxiety until you find them more manageable. It is specifically used for OCD to help people understand and process their anxiety and obsessions while resisting the urge to carry out compulsions. Over time and with the support from a therapist your anxiety decreases, becomes more manageable and other ways of coping are found.

Medications such as Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRI’s) or tricyclic antidepressants could also be offered to you to help manage OCD. With any medication, your doctor can help you decide what’s right for you and explain any possible side effects.

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