Overcoming OCD and Exploring Treatment Options
Obsessive-compulsive disorder can be a challenge to live with, both for you and for the loved ones whose lives your OCD may affect. However, help is available. By exploring your OCD treatment options and opening the door to recovery, you can begin to forge a new path forward and live beyond the constraints of your OCD.
Elena was a professional architect, proud mother of two and a yoga lover. But she had a problem—she was deathly afraid of germs. And, as time went by, her fears only got worse.
No matter where she was or what she did, she was plagued by a terrible fear that she was surrounded by harmful germs. She imagined them as invisible enemies lurking in the air and on every surface. She began washing her hands obsessively with anti-bacterial soap and felt she had to wash them for at least a minute. She would scrub her hands while counting to 60. Her hands soon broke out with eczema. She sprayed every object on her desk at work with Lysol disinfectant spray. If a coworker sneezed, she inhaled the fumes of rubbing alcohol, believing this would kill any germs that might have come her way. She stopped shaking people’s hands and refused to touch her yoga partner. The last straw was when she found she was too scared to hug her kids good night, fearing she would give them germs that might kill them in their sleep. When they began to cry, that was it. She realized she needed to get help.
Elena went to a local residential treatment facility for evaluation and was diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Rather than the relief she expected to feel upon finally knowing the cause of her fear, she felt a new worry creeping in. Was it too late? Was she beyond help?
The answer, of course, is that there is always hope and help available if you’re willing to seek it. As Elena eventually learned, there is no cut-and-dried “cure” for OCD—but, in a long-term treatment program at a residential treatment facility, you can learn to manage and control your symptoms in order to live a full and happy life.
The Challenges of Living with OCD
Obsessive-compulsive disorder is characterized by repetitive thoughts and fears, called obsessions. Obsessions lead to uncontrollable behaviors called compulsions. Everyone experiences unwarranted thoughts and behaviors from time to time, but when they occur often and intrude on everyday life, they become a disorder that can seriously detract from the overall quality of life for both you and your loved ones. Worse, because friends and family sometimes struggle to understand the challenges individuals with OCD face, living with OCD can often feel lonely and may cause social withdrawal. Additionally, obsessions like Elena’s fear of germs may cause you to take drastic measures to cope, some of which may be detrimental to your emotional or even physical well-being—such as Elena’s habit of scrubbing her hands to the point of damaging her skin.
OCD compulsions are exhausting, and can quickly drain you of your energy and zest for life. You may feel compelled to repeat certain actions over and over, or count or arrange objects in very particular ways. While satisfying your compulsions may briefly alleviate the anxiety caused by obsessive thinking, ultimately this solution is not sustainable. The obsessions return, and with them, the compulsions. To truly address both, it’s imperative to seek the help of trained medical professionals who can help you sort through, and cope with, the roots and triggers of your disorder.
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Exploring Treatment Options for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
With the right treatment program, obsessive thoughts can be eased so you no longer feel the need to act on compulsions. You can free yourself from the fears that are holding you back from going where you want to go, achieving your goals, and enjoying the simple pleasures of life. One of the best ways to achieve this is through residential, comprehensive treatment.
Round-the-Clock Support and Care
In a residential facility, you can get the care you need, no matter if it’s day or night. You’ll receive a full assessment, medication and healing therapies, and even an outpatient treatment plan to help you transition back into your daily life. The structured environment of a residential treatment program can help you feel more secure and safe enough to discuss your obsessions in therapy. And being around others who suffer from OCD and anxiety disorders can help you feel less alone and meet new friends who know exactly what you’re going through.
Therapies and Medications Tailored to Your Needs
While at a residential facility you will receive comprehensive OCD treatment, which usually includes talk therapy and medications. Talk therapy usually involves cognitive behavior therapy, which teaches clients how to manage and control obsessions and compulsions. Exposure and response prevention therapy may also be used to help clients learn to tolerate things they are afraid of, which lessens fears over time.
During your stay, you’ll meet with psychiatrists who will work with you to discover which pharmacotherapies work best for you. You may be prescribed antidepressants, anti-anxiety drugs, or others. That’s one of the greatest benefits of residential care—medical staff can monitor your progress with new medications in real-time and adjust your dose or prescriptions as needed. And because you’re in a structured, medically supervised environment, you’ll be sure to take your medication on time, ensuring you see it start to work as soon as possible.
OCD doesn’t just disrupt your life; it can be a heavy mental and emotional burden to bear, especially if you attempt to bear it alone. That’s why getting help is so important. With an accurate diagnosis and the support of medical professionals, friends, family, and fellow travelers on the path to healing, you can begin taking your first steps towards leading a life no longer controlled by your disorder.
Living Beyond the Constraints of OCD
These days, Elena’s fear of germs has eased up considerably. She’s able to do yoga with her best friend and give her kids a hug, things she thought she’d never be able to do again. In a comprehensive residential treatment program, she found the help and support she needed to get her OCD under control and her life back.
Like Elena, you too can learn to cope with and live beyond the constraints of your OCD. With time, patience, and professional guidance, you’ll be able to conquer old habits and thought patterns and replace them with new, healthier ways of thinking and behaving that will allow you to start living your life the way you want, your way.
Bridges to Recovery offers comprehensive treatment for people struggling with mental health disorders as well as process addictions. Contact us to learn more about our renowned Los Angeles programs and how we can help you or your loved one start on the path to healing.