Getting Better - Treatment

Once you have seen a doctor about your intrusive thoughts, unless he/she thinks their help is enough, you will most likely be referred to a mental health team. Depending on how your country's health service works, you should be assigned a mental health worker that coordinates your mental health treatment. Below is what you can expect during your treatment.


Assessment/Diagnosis: The purpose of an assessment is to build up an accurate picture of your needs, see if there is an underlying mental illness and work out the best route for recovery. Different professionals and agencies provide a range of services, which means your initial assessment may involve one or more professionals. You may be seen by a nurse, social worker, psychologist, specialist pharmacist, psychiatrist, or a combination of these and other professionals.

During an assessment, the following points will be considered (where relevant):

  • your mental health symptoms and experiences

  • your feelings, thoughts and actions

  • your physical health and well-being

  • your housing and financial circumstances

  • your employment and training needs

  • your social and family relationships

  • your culture and ethnic background

  • your gender and sexuality

  • your use of drugs or alcohol

  • past experiences, especially of similar problems

  • issues relevant to your or others' safety

  • whether there's anyone who depends on you, such as a child or elderly relative

  • your strengths and skills, and what helps you best

  • your hopes and aspirations for the future

You only have to talk about what you want to talk about.

It helps to be honest and open, but if you're not ready to discuss some issues, you do not have to. You can always bring a friend or family member to an appointment to support you.

The outcome of the assessment should be discussed with you.

You should have the opportunity to ask any questions about your condition, the diagnosis, possible causes, any treatments on offer, and how those may impact on your life.

You should also be involved in the decision making about what treatments are best for you, and you should also be given information you can take home, as well as tips for additional research.


Medication: It may be necessary to be prescribed medication to get your symptoms under control and stabilize your mood. Many people hate the thought of relying on a drug to be ok but its to help you get better alongside the other treatments. When you recover or are able to live life again in control of your mental health, you can be weened off the medication. It doesn't have to be a permanent thing but needing medication is nothing to be ashamed of, its to help you live a best life as possible when you are suffering.

Therapy: Therapy for OCD is usually a type of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) with exposure and response prevention (ERP).

This involves:

  • working with your therapist to break down your problems into their separate parts, such as your thoughts, physical feelings and actions

  • encouraging you to face your fears and have obsessive thoughts without neutralising them with compulsive behaviours; you start with situations that cause the least anxiety first, before moving on to more difficult thoughts

The treatment is difficult and may sound frightening, but many people find that when they confront their obsessions, the anxiety eventually improves or goes away.

People with fairly mild OCD usually need about 10 hours of therapist treatment, with exercises done at home between sessions. If you have more severe OCD, you may need a longer course of treatment.

Further treatment:

Further treatment by a specialist team may sometimes be necessary if you've tried psychological therapy and medicine and your OCD is still not under control. Some people with severe, long-term and difficult-to-treat OCD may be referred to a national specialist OCD service.

OCD support groups:

Many people with OCD find support groups helpful, as they can:

  • provide reassurance and coping advice

  • reduce feelings of isolation 

  • offer a chance to socialise with others

  • provide information and advice for family members and friends

Search for your nearest OCD support group on the internet, countries availabilty varies.

Hopefully this was a good coverage of what to expect for treatment, any other useful information will added if seen to add extra help.