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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5809
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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Can you recommend what is the best way to treat someone who

Resolved Question:

Can you recommend what is the best way to treat someone who has ocd? My 33 year old son needs help and my husband and I are concerned and exhausted with what we have been dealing with lately. Is medication the answer or therapy of some kind?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 5 years ago.

Hi, I'd like to help you with your question.

A person who is diagnosed with OCD may have difficulty finding a treatment that works for them. It may take several tries to find the right balance. That is because OCD is both behavioral and is suspected to be caused by a certain level of brain dysfunction. With an OCD suffer, the levels of serotonin in the brain are altered, causing the messages in the brain to act irregular. When the person suffering with OCD feels anxious, it is thought that the communication between vital parts of the brain are misfiring and causing the person to act out the behaviors of OCD.

Because of the suspected brain dysfunction and the behaviors associated with OCD, both therapy and medications are the best practice model for helping a person with OCD. Although cognitive therapy (changing the way the person thinks to achieve certain behaviors) is popular now, behavioral therapy is the best therapy for helping with OCD. Two types of behavioral therapy are helpful. Systematic desensitation and flooding are both effective. They involve helping the person become exposed to anxiety provoking situations and helping them find new ways to cope with how they feel. They can also use saturation and thought stopping. With saturation, the person takes one of their bothersome thoughts and focuses exclusively on the thought until they become so used to it that is ineffective. With thought stopping, the person thinks the bothersome thought and stops it by saying or thinking Stop!. They can also use other methods such as snapping a rubber band on their wrist. This helps the person experience a negative consequence each time they think the unwanted thought.

Medications are also helpful. The most effective medications with OCD have been the SSRI's which are serotonin re uptake inhibitors. They help regulate the serotonin the brain, making the symptoms of OCD less intrusive.

With a balance of therapy and medication, your son can find relief from his symptoms. As his parents you may also need support while you help your son. Here is a link to help you find support in dealing with a family member who has a mental illness. The link includes support groups you can join on line or in person:

I hope this has helped you,

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