Seeking OCD Treatment
Seeking OCD treatment can be challenging, but it is super important to work at it right away. There are many stories I have heard and read from people with OCD who don’t seek treatment for years because they are afraid of what people may say, or that they don’t even realize it is OCD. Please don’t be afraid to seek treatment. Find someone who is knowledgeable about OCD, and they will not judge you at all. The best resource that I had found to locate a therapist is: https://iocdf.org/. You can use this site to locate a therapist that is close by, but COVID has allowed the search to broaden because most locations are offering telehealth only.
OCD treatment is hard. I was in the military, and until the point of attending therapy, that was the hardest thing I had ever done. Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) therapy blew anything I thought was hard out of the water. There were multiple times that I felt like I wanted to quit, but I persisted because I knew I had to. Persistence is key with OCD. It’s a bully, and you have to keep fighting back with ERP to make any gains. It is tough, but you can do it. The alternative is living with OCD, and that was not something I, or you, should tolerate.
Another tip for treatment is to not be afraid to seek help somewhere else. I went through quite a few therapists before I realized I had OCD. My first therapist even asked me if I was schizophrenic. Imagine that rolling through your head after you just got out of the hospital! I switched therapists real quick after seeing her. I went through a few more before I finally figured out I had OCD. One small bit of caution, though. If you have OCD, and you are seeing an OCD therapist, please don’t rush the process and expect results quickly. ERP takes time, and I know that is hard to hear when it comes to feeling better, but it is something you have to work on continuously. My first ERP program lasted about three months, and my symptoms were dramatically reduced.
Medication may help! Antidepressants are scary and have a long lists of side effects, but if a doctor recommends you one, it might be worth a shot. I am currently on Zoloft, and I was afraid at first as well. These medications made me feel worse while the dosage titrated up, but eventually they worked. I had digestive issues, and even more heightened anxiety at the beginning of taking an antidepressant. Try to find a good psychiatrist that listens to your needs, and they will definitely help you select the correct medication for your OCD. Some psychiatrists also provide a genetic test that supposedly helps you choose a medication with the least amount of side effects based on your genetic makeup. I did not do that because of availability in my area, but trial and error led me to Zoloft.
As always, keep your head up. I know that sometimes it feels like it will never end, but as long as you put in the effort, your treatment will pay off. Don’t sweat the small stuff, and try to live your life the best you can. Do something that you enjoy. Go outside, get fresh air, read a book, or call someone, but don’t seek reassurance! That feeds the OCD bully.