You don’t have to allow OCD to control your life. You can learn to live with it and manage symptoms.

Is OCD Running Your Life?

Washing hand

Do you know or suspect that you’re suffering from obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)? Are you seeking relief from the habitual thoughts, urges and behaviors that feel like they are controlling your life? Perhaps you have been suffering from anxiety in silence, using systematic behaviors in an attempt to mitigate worry, fears and apprehension. Or maybe you engage in an ongoing, cyclical behavior, such as excessive hand washing, constantly checking that doors are locked, praying repeatedly or cleaning nonstop, and/or insist that things need to be done in a particular order or in a certain way. Do you wish you could find a way to quiet the incessant thoughts, urges and behaviors and live a calm, purposeful and balanced life

Living with OCD can be a lonely, stressful, confusing and seemingly helpless experience. You may sense that your thoughts and behaviors are excessive or unrealistic, but feel powerless to stop. Perhaps you feel out-of-control, and the relentless nature of OCD is impacting all aspects of your life, including your ability to maintain a job or engage in healthy relationships. Maybe you’ve tried using willpower to stop engaging in compulsive behavior, but the drive to perform your ritual is too powerful. The urges may be becoming increasingly overwhelming and starting to consume your life.

Understanding OCD

OCD is generally chronic, and most people suffer silently for years before seeking treatment. While there is no concrete explanation for what causes OCD, it often runs in families and may either be genetic or learned behavior. While OCD tends to be an ongoing condition, the good news is that it is a highly treatable disorder. With the help of an experienced therapist, an effective approach and the use of medication if needed, you can increase your resiliency to anxiety, tolerate distressing thoughts and lead a more fulfilling and engaged life.

OCD Treatment Can Provide You With Support, Skills, Tools And Relief

Living with OCD can be exhausting; however, it can be effectively treated. At Collaborative Counseling and Psychiatry, our team of highly experienced and skilled mental health experts can help you mitigate symptoms and experience ongoing relief.

Close up view of a woman scrubbing the floors on her hands and knees.

In OCD treatment sessions, your therapist will begin your work together by helping you develop skills to cope with the difficult feelings that can arise when you begin reframing behavior. A big piece of OCD treatment is to identify the value in it—essentially getting very clear on why you want to be free of OCD. Your goal may be gaining the ability to hold down a job, engage in a meaningful relationship, attend important events with your children or to live a life free of the burden of compulsive behavior. Identifying your “why” at the onset of therapy and returning to it throughout the therapy process can keep you focused and motivated. Your therapist can also teach you relaxation techniques and mindfulness meditation exercises, give you practical tools to practice outside of the office and provide you with ways to track your progress.

While this work can be challenging at times, you will not be in it alone. Your therapist will act as your guide and consistently remind you of your “why.” He or she will also ensure that you know that you are in control and conduct therapy at a pace that does not feel overwhelming. Throughout sessions, your therapist can also help you work toward developing increased self-compassion and acceptance of your thoughts. In a process of guided discovery, you can learn that it’s not about getting rid of your thoughts, but allowing them to rise so you can let them go.

OCD medication is typically used as an adjunct treatment for the disorder. Medication can help to mitigate symptoms, increase psychological flexibility and allow you to understand your experience from a different perspective. If both you and your therapist agree that medication could be helpful, you’ll be referred to our in-house psychiatrist who can provide you with information, prescribe OCD medication and monitor progress and any potential side-effects. Essentially, your therapist, psychiatrist and you can work as a team to ensure that you’re getting the best possible treatment and results. And, as you increase your psychological flexibility and adaptability, it is possible to decrease and eventually be free of medication.

With the support and guidance of a qualified team and a willingness to engage in the OCD treatment process, relief is possible. You can give yourself the freedom to really live, feel increased empowerment and engage with all those things that you truly value.

You still may have questions or concerns about OCD treatment…

How is OCD treated?

schoolboy thinking about obligations, draw gear mechanism on blackboard

Your therapist will likely use Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) therapy, a highly effective and proven approach to treating obsessive compulsive disorder. Using this method, your therapist will guide you through repeated exposure to obsessive thoughts while helping you to refrain from carrying out the connected ritualistic behavior. This process is designed to strengthen your resiliency and help you tolerate thoughts without engaging in the connected compulsive or avoidant behaviors. It can also help you realize that no harm will come from disengaging with compulsive behaviors, which can decrease overall anxiety.

How long does OCD treatment take?

The length of OCD treatment really depends on each individual’s personality, tolerance for anxiety and motivation to engage in the work. The process can take time, but if you are willing to dedicate your efforts, the results can be highly rewarding.

I’m afraid that I’ll feel too overwhelmed if I give up my rituals.

This is a common fear; however, you can learn how to manage symptoms and experience relief without feeling too overwhelmed. In fact, as you slowly learn to let go, you can begin to feel more balanced and empowered. Throughout the process, you can keep a journal to track your progress, which can be helpful to return to when you feel particularly triggered or challenged. Furthermore, you will not be alone. Your therapist will be there as a supportive guide who is on your side and invested in your healing.

You Can Live A Rich, Meaningful Life

You don’t have to allow OCD to control your life. You can learn to live with it and manage symptoms. We invite you to call 847-440-2281 to schedule an initial appointment and/or for a brief phone consultation. We’re happy to discuss your specific needs and to answer any questions you have about OCD treatment, ERP therapy and our practice.