Traditional treatments for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) can be helpful for many, but not everyone will respond positively to them. Until recently, those who did not benefit from these treatments had to deal with the illness’s severe effects. Fortunately, other strategies are gaining popularity as viable options for OCD Treatment.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is one of the most disabling mental illnesses, affecting adults worldwide. This condition has a lifelong course, and complete remission occurs in less than half of patients. An effective treatment is critical in improving patients’ quality of life. This sickness causes two separate debilitating symptoms in those who suffer from it. They are first confronted with obsessions, which are intrusive, recurrent, and uncontrollable thoughts that induce negative emotions such as anxiety. Second, they develop compulsions, which are compulsive behaviors that develop in reaction to obsessions. Suppressing the need to act on compulsions can lead to more uncomfortable emotions. This creates a tough cycle for the person to escape.
Professionals commonly use Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), which aims to identify and reduce obsessions through cognitive restructuring. Exposure Response Prevention (ERP) tries to reduce compulsions through structured exposure to obsessions or feared objects. As previously noted, not all OCD patients react to traditional therapies, necessitating the use of extra therapy options. Treatments focused on mindfulness appear to be a viable competitor.
Treatment based on mindfulness can take many different forms. Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) is a popular and effective treatment for OCD. It encourages patients to focus on the present moment and simply notice their thoughts without judgment. Patients usually practice this attentive technique for an hour each week through guided meditation. More frequent practice can increase results even more. Patients can identify their obsessive thoughts and the settings in which they usually arise by simply engaging with these practices. Patients begin to attach less power to their ideas by observing them without judgment and refraining from aggressively suppressing them. As a result, the need to indulge in compulsions is frequently reduced. Patients’ symptoms are often alleviated within two weeks of doing these exercises as an OCD treatment.
Patients with OCD usually have a high thought-action fusion (TAF), which means they feel that having a thought about completing a specific action automatically leads to the action being performed. This makes gaining control of their compulsive behaviors challenging. Furthermore, in an attempt to gain control over their illness, people with OCD frequently try to repress their obsessions, which, ironically, leads to an increase in intrusive thoughts rather than a reduction in symptoms.
Patients’ TAF is targeted by MBCT, which allows them to break the tight link between thoughts and acts by cognitively rebuilding their beliefs and understanding of the condition and demonstrating that they can learn to regulate their actions. Furthermore, rather than suppressing intrusive ideas, mindfulness helps patients to notice them without judgment. As a result, they are able to attach less significance and power to their obsessions, reducing the urge to engage in compulsions. Furthermore, evidence suggests that when mindfulness is combined with other therapies such as CBT or ERP, it not only improves treatment efficacy but also reduces relapse rates. One possible explanation for this phenomena is that mindfulness teaches people metacognitive thinking, which can help them communicate better with their therapist and prevent recurrence before the symptoms become a life-altering impairment.
Future Treatment Improvements
As shown, mindfulness can be an important component of successful OCD treatment since it has the ability to drastically reduce symptoms, allowing patients to recover control over their obsessions and compulsions. Unfortunately, because the majority of mainstream treatment is still centered on CBT and ERP, the game-changing impacts of mindfulness are primarily limited to experimental settings. The overwhelming data supporting the benefits of mindfulness in OCD treatment, on the other hand, pleads for more clinicians to include this new component in their standard treatment. As a result, the next step in enhancing OCD treatment is to incorporate mindfulness activities into normal therapy so that professionals may deliver the best possible treatment to their OCD patients. This type of approach could potentially be the answer to helping ‘non-responsive’ people.
If you are looking for OCD Treatment in Chandler, Arizona, contact me today! We can discuss the variety of treatment options that are available and find out which one is right for you.