Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP)
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and OC-Spectrum disorders are characterized by marked impairment in daily function due to persistent intrusive thoughts or obsessions and the need to engage in compulsions or behaviors with the intent to neutralize these thoughts and the feelings associated with these thoughts. OC-Spectrum disorders are disorders that are not quite OCD but do share features with OCD. These include: Body-Dismorphic Disorder, Tics and Tourette’s Syndrome, Trichotillomania (hair-pulling disorder), Excoriation (skin-picking disorder) and Hoarding among others.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and OC spectrum disorders tend to become self-sustainable, since a characteristic of these disorders is that things tend to never be good enough, safe enough, clean enough, correct enough etc. causing an ongoing behavioral pattern that is often exhausting and that feels like it may not have an end. Professional intervention is therefore key in order to break the cycle and regain balance of one’s life, and this is done through Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and most specifically, Exposure and Response Prevention therapy (ERP) which is the gold-standard for the treatment of OCD and OC- Spectrum Disorders.
In ERP you will learn to identify you obsessions and compulsions. Together with your clinician you will lean into otherwise avoided thoughts, images, objects and situations that are anxiety provoking and which start your obsessions. Once you have completed an Exposure in this way, you will then work on refraining on engaging in compulsions, which is the Response Prevention part of treatment. By doing ERPs you will develop confidence in your ability to tolerate discomfort and overcome your fears.
Through ERP psychological well being and functioning is re-established. Proper diagnosis and treatment is key in allowing you to go back to normal patterns of functioning and living a full and happy life.