How Is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Treated?

How is obsessive compulsive disorder treated? Learn about OCD symptoms, causes, and treatment options at Advaita Integrated Medicine.

Understanding OCD

What is OCD? How is obsessive compulsive disorder treated? You might be experiencing intrusive thoughts or images that will not go away. You might be struggling with compulsive behaviors that you don’t understand. 

If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) or is exhibiting symptoms, it’s time to consider treatment. We will cover the symptoms of OCD and treatment options in this comprehensive article.

how is obsessive compulsive disorder treated

What is OCD?

Obsessive-compulsive disorder is a mental health disorder characterized by recurring unwanted thoughts, ideas, or sensations. These are called “obsessions.” People with OCD typically feel compelled to do something repetitively to get rid of these unwanted thoughts. 

Repetitive behaviors can include continually checking on something, frequent hand washing, or performing mental acts like counting.1

Impact of OCD

These distressing thoughts and repetitive behaviors can significantly disrupt daily life. People suffering from OCD feel that performing these behaviors will keep dire consequences at bay. If they don’t complete an OCD behavior, they might feel like they or someone they care about is in harm’s way.
Many people who have OCD are aware that their obsessive thoughts are not realistic. They still find it difficult to disengage from these thoughts or stop their compulsive actions. Others believe their obsessional thoughts are realistic.
OCD can negatively impact a person’s life, but there is hope. Keep reading to better understand the answer to the question “how is obsessive compulsive disorder treated?”

What Causes OCD?

Although there is no exact known cause of OCD, experts believe several factors can play a role. Brain abnormalities, genetics, and the environment may be contributing factors to the development or onset of OCD.2
Other mental health disorders may also occur with OCD, including depression, substance use disorder, or eating disorders.

Signs and Symptoms of OCD

How is obsessive compulsive disorder treated, and what are the relevant signs and symptoms? Obsessions and compulsions are different from person to person. The Yale-Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale includes 13 categories of OCD symptoms.3
People often experience symptoms from several categories. These will be detailed below.


The most recognizable form of OCD involves obsessions about things being in the right place or being symmetrical. A person with this symptom might make all of the labels on cans face outward in the pantry or organize all of their books in a specific way.

Intrusive Thoughts

Some individuals experience intrusive thoughts. Distressing thoughts might include thoughts of hurting someone, breaking something valuable, or disturbing sexual images. 

To stop these thoughts, individuals with OCD might perform an action such as repeating something aloud or silently. These intrusive thoughts are not generally acted upon.


Similar to intrusive thoughts, rumination involves ideas that get stuck in someone’s head. A key difference is that ruminations are not necessarily distressing. 

They might be religious, philosophical, or metaphysical thoughts. A person with OCD can become “stuck” on a topic for long periods of time, ignoring responsibilities while attempting to work out answers.


Checking occurs when a person is concerned that they might cause harm through carelessness. They might check doors to make sure they are locked or triple check light switches to be certain a fire doesn’t start while they are gone.


There are two types of contamination OCD. One is the belief that contamination, such as illnesses, can be spread through proximity or touch. 

The other is that words, thoughts, and other everyday things can cause a person to be “contaminated” or unclean. People with this OCD symptom might have compulsions such as frequent hand washing and repetitive cleaning.

How Is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Treated?

OCD is a complex disorder that requires help from mental health professionals. Obsessive-compulsive disorder is considered a lifelong disorder. Ignoring or delaying treatment is not advised. 

If you are wondering “how is obsessive compulsive disorder treated?”, keep reading to find out.

Treatment Opportunities

The most effective treatments for OCD include cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) and medication. 

Some treatment options include: 

  • Intensive outpatient programs (IOP): IOPs are one of the most effective ways to get treatment. Patients may attend group therapy and individual therapy sessions several days per week. IOP is recommended for those who have severe symptoms and want to get better as soon as possible. 
  • Exposure and response prevention (ERP): Another successful form of treatment for OCD is ERP therapy.4
    ERP is typically done in an outpatient setting. Patients would have appointments weekly, or sometimes more frequently.
  • Medication: One of the most common classes of medication for OCD are serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SRIs). SRIs are prescribed by licensed medical professionals, such as psychiatrists and physicians. They work together with therapists to develop a treatment plan.

Types of Treatment Programs

If you are asking “how is obsessive compulsive disorder treated?”, you should understand that there are different programs for OCD treatment, including:

  • Traditional outpatient treatment: Patients see a therapist once or twice a week for 45-50 minute sessions.
  • Day programs: Patients attend treatment at a designated mental health treatment facility, typically during daytime hours, up to five days per week.
  • Partial hospitalization programs: Partial hospitalization programs take place in a mental health hospital and follow a similar schedule as a day program’s.
  • Residential treatment: Patients are treated in an unlocked mental health hospital or treatment facility while living there voluntarily.
  • Inpatient treatment: Inpatient treatment programs take place in a locked unit in a mental health hospital. Patients can check in voluntarily or be admitted involuntarily if they are unable to care for themselves or are a danger to themselves or others.

How Is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Treated at Home?

For some people, checking into a treatment program might sound frightening. If you are asking “how is obsessive compulsive disorder treated?”, you may be wondering if OCD can be treated at home.
Consulting with a healthcare professional is the best option for treating OCD. Once a treatment program has been established, there are some additional ways one can help manage OCD at home:
  • Practice relaxation techniques such as yoga, meditation, or walking.
  • Stay active with regular exercise.
  • Get enough sleep and avoid screen time immediately before bed.
  • Eat a healthy diet and stay hydrated.
  • Celebrate victories! Learning to manage OCD takes time. Get excited about any progress you make along the way—big or small.

How is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Treated? Advaita Integrated Medicine Can Help You or a Loved One Reach Sustainable Wellness

If you have OCD, you’re not alone. Advaita Integrated Medicine is a great place to start living a healthy, fulfilling life. We help people from all walks of life find relief from OCD and its difficult symptoms. Our licensed staff will welcome you with open arms and gently encourage you throughout your wellness journey.
Reach out to us today for an initial consultation. Get started on your personal treatment plan and find out the answer to “how is obsessive compulsive disorder treated?” through our opportunities for personalized recovery plans. We look forward to meeting you.
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