There are psychological treatments and medications available to treat OCD. In getting help for OCD, you will be taught a wide range of skills to manage the anxiety that OCD creates and to learn strategies to control the OCD instead of it controlling you.
Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)
One of the helpful psychological or talking treatments for OCD is cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). This is a treatment that helps you to change the way you think and behave so that you can feel better and get on with your life.
Exposure and response prevention (ERP)
ERP is a type of CBT that aims to stop compulsive behaviours and anxieties from strengthening each other.
People with OCD often think that avoiding certain situations or doing compulsions will help to keep their obsessions away or stop them from coming true. However, this does not help the worry to go away.
In ERP your therapist will help you to face the things that you fear and that you have been avoiding. They can then help you to stop responding like you might usually.
For example, if you have an obsessive thought that you are dirty and might spread disease, you might wash your hands frequently in an attempt to make this obsessive thought go away. Your therapist might challenge you not to wash your hands as much to face this obsessive thought.
Sometimes your therapist may suggest that a close family member or friend is involved during the therapy.
When OCD is severe or you struggle to take part in therapy, you may need medication.
Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) are a type of antidepressant that can be effective in treating OCD. They are usually given to help alongside CBT. Medication can help you get the most out of the psychological treatment.