How Can Exposure and Response Prevention Help One Manage Their OCD?

It can be difficult to manage the effects of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) without professional treatment. Many different areas in one’s life can be negatively impacted by OCD. Aspects of one’s life that can be impacted include the workplace, academic life, and relationships with family and friends. Fortunately, 12 South Recovery can provide professional support for those with OCD. Participating in therapy with 12 South Recovery can help people understand the origins of their mental health condition and learn to better recognize symptoms and appropriately respond. By participating in therapies such as exposure and response prevention (ERP), people can learn improved strategies for managing their condition.

What Is Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder?

As stated by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), OCD is a prevalent mental health condition. Depending on the severity of one’s condition, an individual may have intense urges to perform certain behaviors or rituals repetitively. Recurring thoughts and behaviors are known as obsessions and compulsions. These symptoms can have a significant impact on a person’s ability to function in their daily lives and the quality of their lives.

Not everyone with OCD has the same symptoms and some individuals may experience both compulsions and obsessions. Others will only experience one or the other. Signs and symptoms of having OCD may include:

  • Fear of contamination or germs
  • Unwanted taboo thoughts
  • Putting things in perfect order
  • Aggressive thoughts toward oneself or others
  • Excessive cleaning
  • Arranging items in a particular way
  • Counting compulsively
  • Checking on things repetitively

What Is Exposure and Response Prevention?

In the past, many specialists did not feel that OCD was a treatable mental health condition. Fortunately, within the past few decades, there have been increased success rates that have proven many individuals have presented fewer negative symptoms due to participating in ERP. According to the Indian Journal of Psychiatry, ERP is a cognitive-behavioral approach that has been proven effective in treating OCD. This therapy has now become the first-line approach to treating the negative symptoms associated with OCD.

ERP simply works by exposing the individual to real-life situations, imagined scenarios, and physical sensations related to their symptomatic condition. This exposure provokes an individual’s obsessions in a safe setting so that they can address them.

How Can Exposure and Response Prevention Help Manage Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Symptoms?

ERP therapy provides psychoeducation to individuals who are experiencing uncomfortable OCD symptoms. By participating in ERP therapy, an individual is instructed to follow structured techniques to safely confront their fears and stress related to their obsessions. The client may also be advised to resist engaging in specific compulsions. This term is referred to as response prevention.

Some individuals may resist therapy in the beginning due to a lack of self-esteem or confidence in adjusting to the new behavior plan. ERP requires a new way of thinking and can sometimes be challenging. Therapy requires work and effort to see results. Additionally, some individuals have difficulty focusing on treatment due to their obsessive or intrusive thought patterns.

Fortunately, trained therapists can help. Those trained in ERP can support those with OCD as they bravely try new therapies and work toward the resolution of symptoms. Therapists can impart new tools, coach people on how to respond to certain triggers, and guide people in achieving their personal goals. When therapists use ERP, they help clients alter how they think and feel. Many individuals with OCD choose to pursue this therapeutic approach because they want to think and feel differently. Through ongoing exposure, a person can appropriately manage compulsions and obsessions without following through with exhausting behaviors.

How 12 South Recovery Utilizes Exposure and Response Prevention Therapy

Choosing treatment for OCD can be nerve-wracking. Some individuals may feel hesitant to move forward with psychotherapy as they do not know the exact outcome. Adapting to change is not always easy. 12 South Therapy has a team of mental health professionals who specialize in professional and emotional support. This support makes the transition into recovery a smoother process.

ERP therapy with 12 South Recovery can help individuals find more balance in their lifestyles. Participating in ERP therapy can help individuals break old habits and form healthy new behaviors. After just a few sessions with a trained mental health professional, an individual may find their workplace setting, academic skills, and close relationships with loved ones have improved. Time may be freed up for enjoyable activities due to a reduced or eliminated dedication toward rituals.

Once an individual starts seeing progress in their lives, they will be motivated to continue. Staying dedicated to ERP therapy can help individuals manage their OCD long-term. Through ERP and a variety of other supportive therapies such as group counseling and holistic options offered at 12 South Recovery, those with OCD can find deep and lasting healing.

At 12 South Recovery, we offer integrative treatment for obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD.) One of the therapies we offer is exposure and response prevention (ERP). Our mental health team at the OCD and Anxiety Clinic with 12 South Recovery acknowledges the severity and debilitating nature of OCD. We know this condition requires a highly specialized and comprehensive treatment strategy. Hence, we strive to provide highly individualized care for every guest here at 12 South Recovery. We understand that breaking free from OCD is a process that doesn’t occur overnight. Our team is here for our clients every step of the way. If you or a loved one are in need of additional support, call 12 South Recovery at (888) 830-8374.

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