Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder is a type of anxiety disorder that, similar to other anxiety disorders, can significantly impair daily functioning.
The Mayo Clinic states that OCD is characterized by having certain obsessions (usually unwanted intrusive thoughts that center around a certain fear/theme) that cause an individual a lot of anxiety. In order to relieve this anxiety, an individual will engage in a compulsion (behavior, often repetitive). While performing a compulsion can provide someone with relief for a bit, ultimately, the obsessions will continue and the cycle of anxiety can begin again.
Given that being faced with the obsessions, sitting with the anxiety, and not engaging in compulsions is usually the best way to treat OCD, a lot of individuals find this practice to be extremely uncomfortable and difficult. However, according to the International OCD Foundation, this method is the most effective for dealing with OCD. Clinicians will guide the clients through the exposure process in a safe environment and can take it as slowly as needed.
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). (n.d.). The Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/obsessive-compulsive-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20354432
- Exposure and Response Prevention. (n.d.). International OCD Foundation. https://iocdf.org/about-ocd/oc...