Psychiatrist For OCD
Is Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) causing you problems functioning professionally or stopping you from succeeding academically? OCD can create difficulties in all aspects of your everyday life, including in your personal relationships. Fortunately, effective psychiatric treatment for OCD is available. In treatment, you can build tools that can help you avoid or reduce disabling symptoms. Dr. Dhyrmes will work with you in a holistic approach, combining psychotherapy, medication, and support for lifestyle changes that will help you better manage your OCD.
How common are the intrusive, unwanted thoughts that characterize OCD?
OCD is not rare. If you experience intrusive, unwanted thoughts that cause extreme anxiety, you are not alone. Experts estimate that three million adults in the United States have OCD (1).
Most people experience occasional “intrusive thoughts”. For people with OCD, intrusive thoughts, images, or urges that occur frequently and trigger extreme anxiety. (The O in OCD refers to unwanted thoughts that trigger intense and distressing feelings. The C in OCD refers to compulsions, the behaviors that you resort to as you attempt to get rid of the obsessions and/or alleviate distress.)
Evaluation and diagnosis of OCD
Accurate diagnosis is the first step to effective treatment. Get diagnosed by a psychiatrist with experience identifying and treating OCD. (Learn more about getting an accurate diagnosis.)
A diagnosis of obsessive-compulsive disorder typically means that your obsessions and compulsions have become extreme, blocking you from important activities and interfering with your professional, academic, and personal success.
Is there a cure available for OCD?
Thanks to advances in clinical psychiatry, and evidence-based care, OCD is no longer a life-long, disabling disorder for most people. While obsessive-compulsive disorder is a chronic condition, and treatment for OCD does not provide a "cure", effective treatment can reduce symptoms. When your symptoms are under control, OCD behaviors and thoughts will no longer rule your daily life. For many people, the prognosis is often quite good with state of the art treatment (2).
Treatment can give you tools to manage intrusive, unwanted thoughts. You can apply these tools in everyday life so that the thoughts stop triggering anxiety and fear. You can gain the ability to feel safe without resorting to compulsive behaviors.
What approaches are effective for OCD?
The most effective evidence-based treatments for OCD are psychotherapy and medications. We will work with you, using therapeutic techniques shown to be effective for obsessive-compulsive disorder (3). In treatment we will tailor our approach to your needs, goals, and circumstances.
Does medication work more effectively when combined with psychological treatment?
In many cases, combining medication (typically selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors or SSRIs) with psychotherapy delivers the best results (4). In therapy, we will employ elements of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and exposure and response prevention therapy (ERP). A type of CBT, Exposure and Response Prevention involves gradual exposure to objects that triggers your anxiety (such as dirt) and then learning approaches or techniques that you can apply to respond to the triggers. ERP requires effort and practice on your part but often provides a marked improvement in the quality of life.
For treatment-resistant OCD, a combination of psychotherapy including CBT and medication has been shown to be effective (5).
Changes to your lifestyle can amplify the benefits of treatment
Many people find that simple lifestyle changes help control OCD symptoms when combined with medication and psychotherapy. As part of a holistic approach to treatment, we will work to help you adopt and maintain behaviors that contribute to your wellness. These include regular exercise, healthy meals, getting enough sleep, and participating in "extracurricular" activities that are fun and meaningful for you. In therapy, you can also learn stress management techniques such as meditation or deep breathing.
Reach out for help
Have you been diagnosed with OCD in the past or are concerned that you may have OCD? Have you identified issues that tend to trigger OCD symptoms? Contact my office today.
(1) International OCD Foundation – https://iocdf.org/about-ocd/who-gets/
(2) Lack CW. Obsessive-compulsive disorder: Evidence-based treatments and future directions for research. World J Psychiatry. 2012;2(6):86-90. doi:10.5498/wjp.v2.i6.86
(3) American Psychiatric Association, Koran, L. M., Hanna, G. L., Hollander, E., Nestadt, G., & Simpson, H. B. (2007). Practice guideline for the treatment of patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder.
(4) Del Casale, A., Sorice, S., Padovano, A., Simmaco, M., Ferracuti, S., Lamis, D. A., Rapinesi, C., Sani, G., Girardi, P., Kotzalidis, G. D., & Pompili, M. (2019). Psychopharmacological Treatment of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Current neuropharmacology, 17(8), 710–736. https://doi.org/10.2174/1570159X16666180813155017
(5) Albert, U., Marazziti, D., Di Salvo, G., Solia, F., Rosso, G., & Maina, G. (2018). A systematic review of evidence-based treatment strategies for obsessive-compulsive disorder resistant to first-line pharmacotherapy. Current medicinal chemistry, 25(41), 5647-5661.
(6) Freeman, J., Benito, K., Herren, J., Kemp, J., Sung, J., Georgiadis, C., … & Garcia, A. (2018). Evidence base update of psychosocial treatments for pediatric obsessive-compulsive disorder: Evaluating, improving, and transporting what works. Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology, 47(5), 669-698.
(7) Grebe, S. C., Bergez, K. C., Lee, E. B., Goodman, W. K., Storch, E. A., & Schneider, S. C. (2020). Evidence-Based Treatment of Pediatric Obsessive-Compulsive and Related Disorders. In Handbook of Evidence-Based Therapies for Children and Adolescents (pp. 71-84). Springer, Cham.