The goal at the OCD Spectrum is to make us obsolete; therefore, we teach patients how to take care of any new symptoms that may arise. OCD is a chronic illness which therefore cannot be cured, but it is extremely controllable. In this light, each patient learns to take action if symptoms return. Treatment is done with a collaborative approach, with a focus on treatment relapse prevention. If necessary, we offer “Booster Sessions” so that an individual can get back on track and get rid of returning symptoms. Our goal is to have you and your family members become experts in the treatment of OCD. After treatment, periodic appointments are always available to deal with any lingering issues and to reinforce treatment and wellness goals.
1. Intake, history, and family history
3. Education – In war, it is necessary to know your enemy. Knowledge is power. Knowledge also helps relieve some anxiety and is motivational. It is easier to stay motivated when you know the enemy you are dealing with.
4. 3-ring Binder (Notebook) – Each patient will be asked to create a 3-ring binder (notebook) with lined loose-leaf pages to keep 3 important sections of information used to treat their OCD:
1. A list of medications, if any, that they have taken including dosage, effect, and any side effects (saves patient from the trouble of remembering all of the information or contacting a number of doctors seen over a long period of time). If you see a new doctor for medication in the future, you will ease his/her job and limit trying a medication that was previously taken, and
2. A list of symptoms, i.e. obsessions and compulsions, which may change over time. This is the list where exposure choices will be made from. The list will be accompanied by SUDS (Subjective Units of Distress Scale) ranking, which may be 0-10 or 0-100 with 0 being no anxiety/distress, and 10 or 100 being the most severe ranking.
3. The third section will be for charting the progress of treatment. Using charts to map progress has been repeatedly shown to add to successful outcomes of the treatment.
Exposure and Response Prevention/Exposure and Ritual Prevention (ERP)
ERP is the recognized treatment of choice for OCD. It is based on habituation. For example, a person who has a fear of heights is helped to overcome the fear by directly exposing him/her to a high place until there is no longer an anxiety response. Anxiety is our body’s way of warning us that there is danger so that we can seek safety either by fighting or taking flight. Anxiety is also known as the Fight or Flight Syndrome.
Medication is sometimes necessary to help someone be successful in their ERP practice. Not everyone needs medication. If needed, the issue will be discussed in session.