Regaining Control Over OCD

Available with English captions and subtitles in Spanish.

While obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is a chronic disorder, it can be managed in several ways that can change intrusive thoughts from a roar to a whisper. As debilitating as OCD can be, individuals can respond very well to different treatments. So how can we know which is best for us, and how can we maintain substantial control over our OCD?

Audience Questions

In this session, Jason Krompinger, PhD, facilitates an open conversation about OCD, discusses various forms of treatment, and answers questions about how to regain—and maintain—control over OCD.

  • How can we feel like OCD is controllable if we’re living in such a wild and tumultuous world?
  • When we say “OCD can be controlled,” is this through medication, psychotherapy, both, or a different combination? Can you elaborate more on ways to wrangle our OCD?
  • What’s the first step in trying to regain control over our OCD?
  • Is it possible to have obsessions without compulsions? How common is this?
  • It seems as if obtrusive thoughts are common. For those of us who are not debilitated by them, how do you suggest we deal with them?
  • How often does depression accompany severe OCD? And if depression often accompanies severe OCD, how can it be treated while also addressing OCD?
  • How often does OCD occur alongside addiction?
  • My adult child feels as if they failed therapy for their OCD due to the clinician not using an evidence-based treatment approach. How can the parent of an adult child encourage them to seek treatment, especially someone who now thinks that they may be untreatable?
  • Can you elaborate on what TMS is? How often do you recommend TMS to help alleviate the symptoms of OCD? Do we know if it has been shown to be effective?
  • How common is it that OCD changes regularly? For example, can you have a type of OCD where your triggers/thoughts/symptoms are constantly changing?
  • Do we have an idea of how often the use of ERP is successful in terms of treating severe OCD?
  • Is ERP also effective for Pure O?
  • How do we know if something is a compulsion vs. just a checking behavior?
  • How do you ask your loved ones for support while you are in therapy for OCD? Often the themes can be very hard to talk about and could even be about them. How do you communicate what you are going through and how they can help?
  • How do you work someone through the paralyzing anxiety that occurs during exposures?
  • My child is struggling with OCD and needs me to engage in behaviors with them or else they believe I will be in danger. While we seek treatment, do I engage in these behaviors to help alleviate her concerns?
  • How can you tell the difference between OCD and being overcautious with hand hygiene due to COVID-19? What is the threshold where we need to become concerned?
  • How do you address exposure involving compulsive handwashing for a patient with OCD in this time of the pandemic when there is some real concern about developing illness?
  • I have a patient whose intrusive thoughts are about losing loved ones to illness and my patient being left alone. He is also quite dependent and reactive to loss or separation. Is the recommendation still exposure to the fears about losing loved ones?
  • If a health care professional was interested in being trained in evidence-based OCD treatment, are there local or online trainings you recommend?
  • Any thoughts on creative ways for behavioral activation during COVID/exposure during lockdowns?
  • What is the outcome of a successful treatment for the person with OCD? Do we get to a place where we feel as if we get past the issue? Or are we always fighting the compulsive thoughts?

The information discussed is intended to be educational and should not be used as a substitute for guidance provided by your health care provider. Please consult with your treatment team before making any changes to your care plan.


Dr. Krompinger mentioned this helpful information during the session:

About Dr. Krompinger

Jason Krompinger, PhD, is a clinical psychologist with expertise in treating OCD and related disorders. He serves as director of Psychological Services and Clinical Research at McLean’s Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Institute.

In his role at the OCD Institute, he serves as the director of the training program, supervising students, post-doctoral fellows, and early career psychologists in the delivery of empirically based interventions.

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