The first step is generally visiting your GP. We know how terrifying that is, how finally admitting to the daily torture is difficult – otherwise, OCD wouldn’t be known as the secret! Aware that a lot of people who are drawn in by OCD Awareness Week are those who believe that they have OCD but have no idea where to turn to. So let’s talk about accessing treatment, the best treatments out there and what to expect from your therapist.
OCD-UK has created a GP Icebreaker which can help to start the conversation. Don’t hesitate to use it – it’s had good results and often GPs are grateful for something to begin with. There’s even a specific one for harm OCD.
The other option is IAPT, a scheme introduced to improve access to psychological therapies. Some of them offer self-referral. To find a list of the IAPT services near you click here. Otherwise, your GP might be able to refer you to your local Community Mental Health Team (CMHT) and you may be assigned a community psychiatric nurse and will probably see a psychiatrist.
The gold standard treatment for OCD is a talking therapy called Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), with or without medication. CBT has cognitive aspects, challenging thoughts and beliefs and behavioural tasks, known as Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP). ERP involves creating a hierarchy of difficult situations and trying them out one by one.
You see the thing about anxiety is that it ends up by falling. Learning to face the fear without responding with a ritual or avoidance is the key.
Check out this video where Ashley Fulwood CEO of the charity OCD-UK shares his expert advice on this subject and more over on our YouTube channel