Treatments For Obsessive-compulsive Illnesses
The problem for treatment of obsessive-compulsive illnesses must follow careful diagnosis of the specific nature of the disorder.
Methods used to treat these illnesses include a careful physical and psychological diagnosis, medications, and therapies. Besides the compulsive behavior symptoms a person with OCD exhibits, he or she may also have physical symptoms, such as tremors, dry mouth, stammering, dizziness, cramps, nausea, headaches, sweating, or butterflies in the stomach. Since these and the major symptoms are found in other illnesses, a careful diagnosis is important before treatment is prescribed.
In behavior therapy, the patient is encouraged to control behavior, which the therapist feels can be accomplished with direction. The patient is also made to understand that thoughts cannot be controlled, but that when compulsive behavior is changed gradually through modified behavior, obsessive thoughts diminish. In this therapy, patients are exposed to the fears that produce anxiety in them, called flooding, and gradually learn to deal with their fears.
Cognitive therapists feel it is important for OCD patients to learn to think differently in order to improve their condition. Because OCD patients are rational, this type of therapy can sometimes be useful. Most professionals who treat obsessive-compulsive illnesses feel that a combination of therapy and medication is helpful. Some antidepressants, like Anafranil (clomipramine) and Prozac (fluoxetine), are prescribed to help alleviate the condition.
When patients exhibit compulsive slowness, prompting and shaping techniques are used. Persons who are compulsively slow work with a helper who prompts them along gradually until they can perform actions in a more reasonable time frame, such as reducing a two-hour morning grooming period to half an hour. The shaping aspect is the reduction of time.
Amchin, Jess. Psychiatric Diagnosis: A Biopsychosocial Approach Using DSM-III-R. Washington, DC: Psychiatric Press, 1991.
Baer, Lee. Getting Control. Boston: Little, Brown, 1991.
Green, Stephen A. Green. Feel Good Again. Mt. Vernon, NY: Consumers Union, 1990.
Jamison, Kay Redfield. Touched with Fire. New York: Free Press, 1993.
Neziroglu, Fugen, and Jose A. Yaryura-Tobias. Over and Over Again. Lexington, Mass: D.C. Heath, 1991.
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