Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a common, long-lasting mental health disorder. Statistics show 1 in 40 U.S. adults and 1 in 100 children struggle with OCD. Fortunately, online therapy for OCD based in California can help people manage their symptoms and regain control of their lives.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder is a mental health condition characterized by persistent and intrusive thoughts (obsessions) and repetitive behaviors (compulsions) that individuals feel driven to perform.
Obsessions can take many forms, such as:
Compulsions are repetitive behaviors or mental acts that individuals feel compelled to perform in response to their obsessions to reduce anxiety or prevent a feared outcome. Examples of compulsions include:
OCD can significantly interfere with daily life, relationships, and work, as individuals may spend hours each day performing compulsions or avoiding triggers for their obsessions.
The signs and symptoms of OCD can vary from person to person but typically involve persistent and intrusive thoughts (obsessions) and repetitive behaviors (compulsions). Here are some common signs and symptoms of OCD:
Individuals with OCD often experience significant distress and anxiety related to their obsessions and compulsions and may try to hide or minimize their symptoms. OCD can also co-occur with other mental health conditions like depression or anxiety disorders.
If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of OCD, it’s important to seek professional help. Online therapy for OCD has helped many individuals learn to manage and cope with their OCD symptoms.
Many people experience obsessive thoughts or compulsive behaviors at some point in life. But not everyone with these thoughts and behaviors qualifies for an OCD diagnosis. Additionally, OCD can be different for each individual.
A diagnosis of OCD requires that obsessions and compulsions must be frequent and severe enough to interfere with daily life. Other requirements include the following:
OCD symptoms may not be the same all the time. Many people’s symptoms fluctuate depending on stress and other factors, such as age.
Treating OCD is similar to other mental health disorders and includes psychotherapy, medications, or both. However, the best OCD telehealth treatment starts with a complete evaluation. This can uncover other mental health disorders, such as anxiety and depression, and help create a personalized treatment plan.
Psychotherapy, or individual therapy, specifically Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), is an effective treatment for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). CBT for OCD involves cognitive therapy and exposure and response prevention (ERP).
Cognitive therapy helps individuals with OCD identify and challenge their obsessive thoughts. The goal is to help them develop a more balanced and realistic view of their thoughts.
For example, if someone is obsessed with cleanliness and feels the need to wash their hands constantly, a therapist might help them see that excessively washing their hands doesn’t make them cleaner. Instead, the therapist might help them find more productive ways to handle their anxiety.
ERP is a type of CBT that involves gradually exposing individuals to the things or situations that trigger their obsessions while preventing them from engaging in compulsive behaviors. The goal is to help them learn to tolerate the anxiety that arises from their obsessions without resorting to their usual compulsive behaviors.
For example, if someone is obsessed with germs and feels the need to wash their hands frequently, a therapist might gradually expose them to increasingly dirty objects or surfaces while preventing them from washing their hands. The therapist would help the individual learn to tolerate the anxiety that arises from the exposure without resorting to compulsive behavior.
The therapist works with the individual to set treatment goals, monitor progress, and provide support throughout the therapy process. The length of treatment varies depending on the individual’s needs and goals. Research suggests that CBT for OCD is typically effective in reducing symptoms and improving quality of life.
Medications are often used as part of the treatment plan for OCD, especially in combination with psychotherapy. Medications for OCD belong to a class of drugs called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). These drugs are also commonly used to treat depression and anxiety disorders.
Fluoxetine is the first SSRI approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat OCD. It works by increasing the level of the neurotransmitter serotonin in the brain.
Sertraline is another SSRI commonly used to treat OCD. Like fluoxetine, it increases serotonin levels in the brain.
Fluvoxamine is also an SSRI. The FDA specifically approves it for the treatment of OCD. It is thought to work by increasing serotonin levels in the brain.
Paroxetine is an SSRI that commonly treats both OCD and depression. It works by increasing serotonin levels in the brain.
Clomipramine is a tricyclic antidepressant that the FDA approves for the treatment of OCD. It works by increasing the neurotransmitters serotonin and norepinephrine levels in the brain.
Medications for OCD can take several weeks to start working. Additionally, the full therapeutic effect may not be seen for several months. These medications can also have side effects, such as nausea, diarrhea, insomnia, and sexual dysfunction. Therefore, discussing the potential benefits and risks of any medication with a healthcare provider before starting treatment is important.
Telehealth or teletherapy via phone, video, and text messaging has existed for years. However, sincere the Covid-19 pandemic, it has become more widely used.
Exposure and response prevention therapy is the gold standard for effectively treating OCD. However, there is a shortage of therapists trained in this specialized therapy. This leaves many individuals struggling with OCD having to travel far distances for treatment, getting treatment from therapists untrained to treat OCD, or not receiving treatment at all.
ERP therapy conducted online is the same as in-person ERP. It follows the same evidence-based therapy approaches which are proven to treat OCD. Researchers have found online therapy for OCD is equally as effective as in-person treatment.
There are many benefits of online therapy for OCD, including the following:
Online therapy can be accessed from anywhere with an internet connection, making it more convenient for individuals who may have difficulty accessing in-person therapy due to distance, mobility issues, or other barriers.
Online therapy sessions can be scheduled at a convenient time for the individual, allowing for greater flexibility in scheduling appointments around work or other obligations.
For some individuals, seeking therapy for OCD can be associated with a stigma. Online therapy allows individuals to receive treatment from the privacy of their own homes, potentially reducing feelings of shame or embarrassment.
Online therapy provides a safe and comfortable environment for individuals with OCD to work on their symptoms without the added stress of leaving their homes or being in a new environment.
Online therapy can allow individuals to access specialized providers who may not be available in their local area.
Online therapy can be a cost-effective alternative to in-person therapy, as it eliminates the need for travel expenses and reduces the overhead costs associated with running to a physical office.
At Evolve Wellness Inc, our online therapy for OCD is personalized to meet each individual’s unique needs. While we are based out of California, you can obtain treatment from the comfort of your home, no matter where you live.
If you or a loved one is struggling with OCD or another mental health disorder, you are not alone. Contact us to find out how our online therapy program can help you.