How Do You Know You’re Ready for OCD Therapy?

By Keara Valentine
3 min read
ocd therapy

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) affects between 7 and 9 million people in the U.S. Far too often, people with OCD suffer in silence and are unaware that treatment options are available.

Even when they experience severe impairment, research shows that only 35% to 40% of people with OCD seek treatment — and even fewer receive evidence-based treatment such as ERP therapy. Many people don’t seek treatment that could offer relief because of factors such as:

  • Social stigma
  • Not knowing where to find support
  • Lack of awareness that treatment options exist
  • Believing their symptoms “aren’t severe enough”

A trained provider can help you learn to manage OCD and dramatically improve your quality of life. But how do you know when you’re ready? Here’s everything you need to know about OCD therapy and when it might be time to seek it out.

How is OCD treated? 

Treatment options for OCD include medication, therapy and even surgery. Research indicates that people with OCD respond well to a particular kind of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) called exposure and response prevention therapy, or ERP therapy. 

In ERP therapy, patients are exposed to stimuli that trigger their symptoms. Instead of responding to stimuli with compulsive behavior — like frequent hand-washing or repetitive rituals — patients learn, with the help of a professional in a safe environment, to resist their compulsions. By gently exposing patients to triggering situations, ERP therapy can help reinforce healthier responses.

More than 80% of OCD patients respond well to ERP therapy. In some cases, combining ERP with medication can make treatment even more effective. 

How do you know you’re ready for OCD therapy? 

While many treatment options exist, it takes an average of nine years to receive an accurate diagnosis of OCD; it can take another 17 years to receive effective OCD treatment. 

Many folks with OCD hesitate to seek out help because they feel their symptoms aren’t severe enough. However, anyone with OCD can benefit from therapy, particularly if their symptoms are becoming disruptive or unmanageable. 

How do you know when it’s time to look for help? Here are a few signs you might be ready for OCD therapy:

Do your symptoms cause distress? 

OCD is ego-dystonic, which means compulsions may go against someone’s beliefs and values. OCD is often extremely upsetting because you don’t want to have those thoughts or engage in those compulsive behaviors, but you end up doing it anyway.

You may experience a brief feeling of relief after performing compulsions, particularly if you’ve been experiencing anxiety. But this feeling of relief is often overshadowed by the distress caused by obsessive thoughts or compulsions. 

Do your symptoms take up excessive time? 

Think about how much time is taken up by your OCD symptoms. This includes time spent physically engaging in compulsive behavior and time spent mentally wrestling with intrusive thoughts

If you find yourself spending around an hour or more a day preoccupied with your symptoms, it might be time to seek help.

Are your symptoms disrupting your life? 

The stresses of daily life become even more overwhelming and unmanageable when OCD symptoms enter the picture. Do your symptoms interfere with daily activities? This can include struggling to get ready in the morning, perform regular chores, work in school or at a job or socialize with friends and family.

When is it time to seek help? 

Anyone who feels that OCD symptoms are interfering with their life should seek treatment. While OCD treatment looks different for everyone, early intervention with techniques such as ERP therapy can mitigate symptoms and help you regain control of your life. The sooner OCD therapy begins, the sooner you start down the path toward recovery.

The right therapist, resources and therapy techniques will guide you toward greater freedom and control over your life. If you are struggling with OCD symptoms and looking for effective and affordable treatment, our network of highly trained virtual specialists can help you find the support you need. 

ERP is most effective when the therapist conducting the treatment has experience with OCD and training in ERP. At NOCD, all therapists specialize in OCD and receive ERP-specific training. Contact us today to schedule a free call today and learn more about what we can offer you. 

Keara Valentine
WRITTEN BYKeara Valentine