OCD Therapy in NYC
What is obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)?
We all have our own unique habits, or experience obsessive thoughts from time to time.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a mental health condition that is characterized by a cycle of obsessions and/or compulsions. The obsessions and/or compulsions of people with OCD consume a significant portion of their day. These thoughts/behaviors will often cause psychological distress and disrupt one’s ability to function in daily life. OCD often begins anywhere from childhood to early adulthood.
What is the difference between an obsession and a compulsion?
An obsession is an intrusive thought or image that is highly distressing. A compulsion is usually a repetitive behavior which can reduce the psychological distress of an obsession. For example, for individuals who have concerns (obsessions) about contamination, repetitive cleaning behaviors can reduce their anxiety.
What is having OCD like?
Many of us may have thoughts and behaviors like these from time to time, but for someone with OCD, these obsessions and compulsions take over their life. These intrusive thoughts become obsessions, and, in order to deal with them, people resort to compulsions, which are behaviors that are comforting and reduce anxiety. For example, someone who has an obsession over exactness may have their lives revolve around specific orders. Opening a door may require a particular hand sequence: right hand, left hand, and right hand again. Having any bad thoughts may be accompanied by a specific number of “knocks on wood”, which also has to be precise each time. If any of these mental rituals are done incorrectly, a person with OCD may truly believe something terrible may happen, and may repeat these rituals over and over again until they are done correctly. These behaviors are habit-forming, leading to a vicious cycle of obsessions and compulsions. As a result, untreated OCD can severely impact relationships, work, and school.
Consequences of OCD
While OCD is treatable, there are consequences for living with untreated OCD. Possible long-term consequences of untreated OCD include the following:
- Inability to attend work, school, or social activities
- Poor interpersonal relationships
- Social isolation
- Difficulties holding down a job
- Unstable finances
- Poor overall quality of life
- Contact dermatitis from excessive skin washing
- Substance misuse
- Suicidal thoughts and behaviors
What causes OCD?
There are many reasons to believe that the causes of OCD are biological. Research has shown that in the brains of people with OCD, there is greater activity and interconnectivity in areas of the brain responsible for habit formation and processing emotions, in particular, fear.
Genetics have a strong influence on whether you have OCD or not. If someone in your family, such as a parent or a sibling, has OCD, then you are more likely to develop OCD as well. The rate of OCD between family members is much higher than the rates of OCD among the general population.
Additionally, stressful environmental factors have been shown to play a role in developing OCD. For example, childhood trauma, specifically abuse and disruption of the family, are linked to OCD.
How do you treat OCD?
If you have OCD, treatment will empower you to take control over your own OCD and live your life to its potential.
Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) for treating OCD
Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) is a type of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), which is a common type of talk therapy for treating a range of mental health disorders. ERP will likely be one of the first options used to treat your OCD. You will explore your thought patterns, including the images or situations that trigger these thoughts, and your habits or rituals that result. You will work towards creating strategies to manage your obsessions and prevent compulsive behavior. By staying in a fearful situation without anything terrible happening, you will learn that your fearful thoughts are just thoughts rather than reality. Over time, your brain will be trained to see your past obsessions as non-threats. Then, you are less likely to carry out compulsions, because you do not need them as a safety blanket.
Medications for treating OCD
For OCD, medication can be used to effectively help treat symptoms, and it can be combined with Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) therapy. Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs), a type of antidepressant, is the most common choice for an OCD medication.
The success rate for treating OCD
The success rate using ERP is greater than 60%, with long term treatment success. Using medication alone has approximately 40% to 60% effectiveness. Using both in combination can be a highly effective treatment strategy for some people with severe OCD.
Work with an NYC OCD therapist at Integrative Psych
Integrative Psych is an NYC-based private practice specializing in the treatment of OCD and related conditions. Many of our clients are based in Brooklyn, Queens, New Jersey, Manhattan (Chelsea, Village, Lower East Side, Upper East Side, Upper West Side, Tribeca, SoHo), Connecticut, Westchester but our OCD therapists are licensed to treat anyone in the state of New York.
Integrative Psych takes a compassionate, comprehensive and holistic approach to OCD diagnosis and treatment. We will carefully explore your present life and early life, evaluating all factors that could be contributing to your OCD.
When making recommendations, treatment may involve tailored medication and likely include a blend of therapy including Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP), depending on what works best for you.
Decisions about what treatment or treatments to pursue are made as a team, between you and your OCD therapist. Once you have begun care with us, we will see you regularly to monitor your progress and make any adjustments necessary to ensure that you benefit fully from your treatment at Integrative Psych.
Obtain OCD therapy in NYC today, if you are ready to:
- Manage your OCD symptoms so they don’t control your life
- Learn effective strategies for dealing with intrusive thoughts
- Have the support of a trusted professional with extensive experience treating OCD
If you’re seeking treatment and interested in working with one of our OCD therapists, book an appointment here.
- Which type of therapy is most effective for OCD?
While the recommended treatment for OCD may vary between different people, the most effective treatment for OCD is a combination treatment including Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) and medication. Combination treatment tends to work better than individual treatment alone.
- Can OCD go away with therapy? Can OCD be cured?
There is no true cure for OCD, but treatment and therapy can help manage your obsessions and compulsions so you can live your daily life. Treating OCD can remove most, or up to all symptoms, making the condition much more manageable.
- How long is the treatment process for OCD?
You may need 12-20 therapy sessions before noticing significant improvement in your OCD symptoms. For full recovery, treatment may take anywhere from 6 months to a year.
“This is a great practice. I suffer from OCD and have been seeing Dr Ryan Sultan for a year now. He has helped me overcome my biggest challenges and live a life that I didn't even know I could.”