March 6, 2024
Cognitive Behavior Therapy Therapies

CBT vs ERP: Which is Better for OCD?

CBT vs ERP: Which is Better for OCD
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The difference between cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and Exposure Response Prevention (ERP) is frequently misconstructed. Additionally opting for one over the other therapy can signify the difference between seeking healing and being ensnared in the obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) symptoms.
In this situation, it is difficult to find which type of therapy they need. Here is advice to all when you are looking for CBT and another advised to seek ERP. Let’s focus on the difference between both of them and which is the best for OCD.

What is OCD?

Obsessive-compulsive disorder also known as OCD is anxiety and depression including mental health conditions. With OCD, obsessions are uncontrolled in patients and can be used in repetitive form to reduce anxiety and depression. OCD is leading to distressing situations that affect the patient’s personal life. To overcome these problems, medication, and cognitive behavioral therapy can be beneficial for you.
Obsessions and compulsions impact everyone for some time in their life. OCD is common in 1 out of 40 people and roughly affects less as compared to others. It may impact individuals from ethnic backgrounds, origins, and genders. Mostly it begins in childhood and continues into adulthood.

Symptoms of OCD

OCD affects people in different ways, it usually causes behaviors and thinking patterns. OCD has mainly included 3 main elements:

  • Obsessions: It is created when you see undesirable, instructive, and distressing thoughts, pictures, or urges which repeatedly enter your mind. 
  • Emotions: Due to obsessions, you may feel anxiety and distress.
  • Compulsions: This mental health behavior and actions are compelled to be brought out by patients with OCD, due to anxiety and distress by the obsession.

With compulsive behavior, you may get rid of anxiety temporarily, but obsessions and anxiety will return or trigger soon, because of the repeating cycle again.

What is OCD?

Obsessive Thought Symptoms

There are several common obsessions that impact an individual with OCD, such as:

  • Have fear of intentionally harming yourself or others, including fear of attack on your loved ones, especially children.
  • More worried about harming themselves to others, such as fear of accidentally fire by an open stove.
  • Anxiety may be related to any diseases, infection, or unpleasant objects.
Compulsive Behavioral Thought Symptoms

A common type of compulsive behavior found in people who suffer from OCD includes:

  • Focus on more cleaning and excessive dishwashing.
  • Checking noticeable behavior such as doors are closed or not, gas turn-off or not.
  • Counting
  • Ordering and arranging items in a well-mannered way.
  • Hoarding 
  • Looking for reassurance from others.
  • Repeating words or phrases continuously.
  • Avoiding those places to go that may trigger obsessive thoughts.

Not all compulsive behavior will be found in other people

Other Emotions Symptoms

People who suffer from OCD may also have to develop other serious mental illnesses such as:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Eating disorder
  • Suicidal feelings
  • Hoarding disorder
  • Generalized anxiety disorder

Patients with OCD may be experiencing severe depression, here is advice to consult your therapists as soon as possible.

Treatment for OCD

If you are experiencing these OCD symptoms mentioned above that may affect your everyday life, you should take medical help as much as possible. To overcome this problem you may opt for CBT and ERP therapy treatment.
CBT stands for cognitive behavioral therapy and is a type of psychotherapy. You should immediately consult with a therapist who can help you in examining and understanding your feelings or ideas. With the help of this therapy, you may break OCD’s harmful patterns and replace them with managing sessions. In ERP therapy, patients engage with triggers that create anxiety in them. A therapist then intervenes to protect you from succumbing to the compulsions.

What is CBT?

A CBT focuses on understanding patients’ mind thoughts such as actions and provides the best pattern that may be leading to difficulties they are facing. With systematic patterns for treatment that learn the patient’s mind’s thoughts and how patients can change their habits. Therapists will take sessions and understand your thinking pattern which may cause suffering an important part of CBT. In this stage, you are dealing with overwhelming emotions and negative actions.
In this therapy, the therapist will ask some questions. After you answered all the fundamental questions, here is advice to set your objectives and recognize your thinking pattern. Your therapist will help you to select the best method for accessing and addressing those thoughts.

Who gets benefits from CBT-I

How can CBT help with OCD?

As we know that CBT is used to treat mental disorders like depression, anxiety, stress, eating disorders, etc. CBT is short-term and focuses on the patient’s present situation in the treatment process.
When it comes to CBT, this type of treatment is used to increase compulsion by offering comfort. Many people who suffer from OCD look for reassurance treatment to alleviate the tensions caused by their intrusive thoughts. Although when reassurance becomes a compulsive thought, the individual can feel better for a short time. But it is not able to manage with OCD for a long duration. A person with OCD often finds that certain techniques used in CBT to confront their thoughts or manage their emotions which turn into obsessive thoughts.

What is ERP?

It is also a type of cognitive behavioral therapy treatment that is used to assist patients who are suffering from OCD, PTSD, and phobias. ERP, also called exposure therapy treatment, was developed to help patients with OCD to recognize and facilitate triggers. This method uses a variety of scenarios and sessions for obsessions and allows the patient to manage compulsive reactions in a safe and manageable plan. This treatment tracks a record of patients who suffer from OCD and it is 70% beneficial for the treatment of OCD.


How can ERP help with OCD?

According to researchers, ERP is perfectly suitable for the treatment of OCD. It only focuses on obsessions and compulsions in a focused manner. When you have an appointment with an ERP therapist, here is the advice to be aware of every logical question and talk yourself out of your anxieties.
ERP is the most effective treatment method for OCD to expose their ideas. When you frequently engage in compulsions such as looking for reassurance, only your strength works in the future. Although, when you stop yourself from engaging in your compulsions, you may train yourself to accept alternative responses.

Which is better for OCD?

CBT is useful for cognitive and behavioral treatment techniques. On the other hand, ERP is useful for patients who suffer from OCD. According to research, both techniques are the correct methods for OCD treatment. Although, it is broadly identified that Exposure Response Prevention is the most useful treatment of OCD which is proven in research.
If you are looking for a therapist for OCD treatment, it is advisable to look for someone who is knowledgeable and experienced in CBT, in general, and in ERP, in particular. Your therapist should be able to identify whether ERP is required and whether other methods to give it, or whether you need to be referred to another health care provider.

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