For those of us who were living in New York or Washington on September 11th, 2001, and for those of us who were otherwise affected by the events of that day, each anniversary of that date can bring its own difficult memories. It is not uncommon for those who were affected by 9/11 to experience an increase in certain unpleasant symptoms on anniversaries of 9/11/01. These can include troubling memories, dreams or nightmares, anxiety, avoidance of reminders of 9/11, feeling emotionally “numb,” depression, or increased alertness (sometimes described as feeling overly “on guard”). These are symptoms of posttraumatic anxiety. For some people, these [Read more…]
For many sufferers of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and other types of anxiety, deciding to seek help can be a difficult decision to make. Once that decision is made, another choice is required: what kind of help is best for me? Two of the most researched treatment options available are pharmacological treatment (medication) and cognitive-behavioral therapy. Many people will prefer one or the other, saying, “Oh, I would never want to take medication unless I had to,” or alternatively, “Just give me the pill, what’s the big deal?” This is a very personal choice that each person must make [Read more…]
ERP and ExRP are kinds of psychotherapy used to treat obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). ERP stands for Exposure and Response Prevention. Innovations in this psychotherapy over the past ten years resulted in its being given a new name: Exposure and Ritual Prevention (ExRP). The two therapies are similar, and both build on core behavioral therapy concepts. The purpose of this article is to provide information about what these therapies involve, and how they might be helpful to people suffering from OCD.
OCD is a psychological disorder that has been documented for thousands of years. OCD is characterized by the presence of either obsessions, compulsions, or both. Obsessions can be thought of as intrusive thoughts that cause anxiety. They are difficult to get rid of, despite one’s best efforts. Compulsions are activities, often performed repetitively. We often experience anxiety when we are not able to perform the compulsion.
For several decades after the early psychoanalysts wrote about obsessions (starting in the late nineteenth century), treatment for OCD would typically involve psychoanalysis that strove to root out the unconscious cause for an obsession. [Read more…]