How to Effectively Treat Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Learn about OCD symptoms, causes, and how to treat obsessive compulsive personality disorder in this comprehensive article

Table of Contents

What Is OCD?

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a mental illness that can greatly reduce a person’s quality of life. Fortunately, it is treatable. Keep reading to learn how to treat obsessive compulsive personality disorder.

OCD is a chronic disorder in which a person has uncontrollable, recurring thoughts and behaviors they feel they must continuously repeat. OCD can prevent an individual from completing daily tasks and fully enjoying life. Before we can learn how to treat obsessive compulsive personality disorder, we must take a look at OCD’s characteristic symptoms.

how to treat obsessive compulsive personality disorder

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Obsessive Thoughts

OCD is characterized by obsessive thoughts and compulsive actions. Common obsessions include:

  • Forbidden thoughts involving sex, religion, or harmful actions
  • Fear of germs and contamination
  • Aggressive thoughts toward oneself and others
  • A need to have things in symmetrical order

Compulsive Behaviors

A person with OCD engages in compulsive behavior in an effort to keep obsessive thoughts under control. Examples of compulsive behaviors include:

  • Ordering or arranging things in a particular way
  • Repeatedly checking on something, such as if an appliance is off or the door is locked
  • Compulsively counting objects
  • Excessive hand washing or cleaning

Symptoms of OCD

You may be wondering how to treat obsessive compulsive personality disorder if you or a loved one are displaying OCD-like symptoms. Some behaviors are stereotypical of OCD in popular culture, but they don’t mean that someone has a personality disorder.

A true OCD diagnosis will involve the following symptoms:

  • Inability to control obsessive and compulsive behavior even if the individual acknowledges their actions are irrational
  • Devotes at least an hour per day to obsessive thoughts and compulsive behavior
  • Gets relief from anxiety by engaging in compulsive behavior, but does not get any pleasure out of it
  • Experiences difficulty in their daily life due to obsessive-compulsive habits
    Some people with OCD experience verbal or motor tics

Who Is at Risk for OCD?

Part of understanding how to treat obsessive compulsive personality disorder involves learning who is at risk. OCD is typically diagnosed in people around the age of 19. However, later onset can occur. The condition has been first diagnosed in people as old as 35.

Symptoms tend to manifest earlier in boys than it does in girls. The condition is more common in males during childhood, but is more likely to develop in females during adolescence and adulthood. It equally affects people of all races, ethnicities, and backgrounds.

OCD Risk Factors

Here are some risk factors that possibly play a part in OCD development:

  • Genetics: A 2021 study shows that OCD is more likely to occur in people with a first-degree relative who has been diagnosed with the condition. The risk increases if the first-degree relative was diagnosed during childhood or adolescence.1
  • Brain structure: People with OCD are shown to have brain characteristics in their frontal cortex and subcortical structures that vary from people without the disorder. These abnormalities seem to be linked to the condition, but the exact relationship is unclear. More research is needed to establish a connection.2
  • Environment: A 2021 review shows that people who have been exposed to trauma during childhood are more likely to develop OCD. More research is needed to determine the relationship.3

How to Treat Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder: Understanding Your Options

Treatment for OCD typically involves a combination of medication and psychotherapy. If you are asking “how to treat obsessive compulsive personality disorder,” keep reading to learn about different OCD treatment options.


Serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are often prescribed to OCD patients. Like many anxiety disorders, OCD is characterized by low levels of serotonin. SSRIs boost serotonin production to relieve associated symptoms of anxiety and depression. If SSRIs don’t relieve symptoms, an antipsychotic may be prescribed. This type of medication can be beneficial for people with OCD and tic disorders. They are also effective in reducing anxiety.

Medications come with their share of side effects and may only be prescribed when therapy isn’t working. However, in the case of a severe mental illness like OCD, drugs are often necessary. Medication is one part of how to treat obsessive compulsive personality disorder.


Psychotherapy is an umbrella term for any type of talk therapy. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is often used to treat OCD. It involves addressing negative thought processes to yield healthy behavior patterns.

Exposure and response prevention (ERP) is a type of CBT that is the most effective in reducing OCD symptoms. It involves exposing the patient to their fears and helping them make the choice to not engage in compulsive behaviors. The desired outcome is to reduce the compulsion.4

Holistic Therapy

Medication and talk therapy may also be combined with holistic therapy. Some types of holistic therapy include:

  • Art therapy
  • Yoga
  • Meditation
  • Animal therapy
  • Nutritional therapy

These all-natural treatments can be effective in reducing anxiety, and are often encouraged in conjunction with therapeutic treatment modalities.

Outpatient Care

When you are looking for how to treat obsessive compulsive personality disorder, you will find that OCD treatment is typically administered in an outpatient setting. Here are the different types of outpatient care programs:

  • Partial hospitalization program (PHP): The patient stays in a care facility 6–8 hours a day. They may spend the rest of the time at work or with family.
  • Intensive outpatient program (IOP): An IOP often follows PHP. The patient comes in for therapy a few times per week.
  • Outpatient program: This final stage of treatment involves therapy once a week or on an as-needed basis.

How to Treat Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder: the Importance of Personalized Healing

How to treat obsessive compulsive personality disorder will vary from person to person. A treatment plan will depend on an individual’s budget, situation, and the severity of their illness. If you or a loved one are suffering from OCD, talk to a medical professional to determine which is best suited to your needs.

how to treat obsessive compulsive personality disorder

OCD Treatment in North Carolina

Now that you know how to treat obsessive compulsive personality disorder, you can move forward with finding a treatment center in your area.

It’s important to find a treatment center that offers a comfortable atmosphere, highly trained staff, and specialized treatment that addresses your needs. You can spend hours researching which clinic is right for you, or you can call Advaita Integrated Medicine (Advaita Integrated Medicine) first.

Find Holistic Care at Advaita Integrated Medicine

At Advaita Integrated Medicine, we treat a wide variety of mental health disorders. Our integrative medicine approach combines well-researched conventional medicine with evidence-based complementary therapies. We can help you with psychiatric evaluations, medication management, therapy and counseling, and preventative primary care.

We are located in Raleigh, North Carolina, where we offer in-person appointments. We can help anyone in North Carolina through our virtual sessions.

Regain Autonomy Today by Calling Advaita Integrated Medicine

Don’t let OCD take over your life. Connect with Advaita Integrated Medicine today. We will help you manage your mental health disorder and find the health and happiness you deserve.


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