Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT)
Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) attempts to treat OCD in two ways:
The Exposure-Response Prevention (E/RP) approach of CBT entails exposing the person to the undesired behavior until the fear, anxiety, or unpleasantness no longer becomes an issue, which is followed by adding “Ritual Prevention" or blocking the usual habit. For instance, when a person obsessed with the fear of germs through dirt indulges in the compulsive behavior of washing hands repeatedly, CBT first introduces dirt to the patient, increasing the exposure gradually, and then makes the patient rub his or her hands on dirt. This removes the fear of dirt and germ contamination and makes the patient understand that washing hands repeatedly is not necessary.
The Cognitive Therapy (CT) approach of CBT, usually administered along with the E/RP approach challenges the assumptions made by the patient, and thereby demolishes the basis of the patient’s obsessions. For instance, CT aims to make the patient realize that his or her fear regarding germs from dust is irrational and exaggerated.
The use of CBT approaches reduces the symptoms of OCD by about 50 to 80 percent.
Apart from CBT, group therapy and family therapy can also be helpful.