Munson Health
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

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by Scholten A




Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder. A person with OCD has unwanted repetitive thoughts and behaviors.


Treatment reduces OCD thoughts and compulsions, but does not completely eliminate them. Common treatment approaches include a combination of medication and therapy.


Behavioral therapy addresses the actions associated with OCD. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) addresses both the thought processes and the actions associated with OCD.
Treatment of OCD is tailored to meet your particular needs.
Examples of therapies used to treat OCD include:
  • Exposure and response prevention—involves gradually confronting the feared object or obsession without giving into the compulsive ritual linked to it
  • Aversion therapy—involves using a painful stimulus to prevent OCD behavior
  • Thought switching—involves learning to replace negative thoughts with positive thoughts
  • Flooding—involves being exposed to an object that causes OCD behavior
  • Implosion therapy—involves being repeatedly exposed to an object that causes fear
  • Thought stopping—involves learning how to stop negative thoughts


Anxiety Disorders Association of America

International OCD Foundation



Canadian Mental Health Association

Canadian Psychological Association



Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: Updated August 18, 2014. Accessed August 21, 2014.

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). National Institute of Mental Health, National Institutes of Health website. Available at: Accessed August 21, 2014.

OCD risk higher when several variations in gene occur together. National Institute of Mental Health website. Available at: Accessed August 21, 2014.

4/16/2009 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance Simpson HB, Foa EB, Liebowitz MR, et al. A randomized, controlled trial of cognitive-behavioral therapy for augmenting pharmacotherapy in obsessive-compulsive disorder. Am J Psychiatry. 2008;165:621-630.


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