Effective psychological treatment for obsessive-compulsive disorder

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a psychological disorder belonging to the group of anxiety disorders. This is a relatively common problem that is thought to affect 2% of people.

OCD is characterized by invasive, repeated, and insistent thoughts that cause pain or uneasy states such as restlessness, worry, fear, and anxiety.

Psychologist M.ª José Polo Carrillo from the Psychologists Málaga PsicoAbreu firm declares that in response to these fears, the person begins to perform repetitive actions in the form of compulsive rituals that are beyond their control. These compulsions momentarily ease the anxiety and worry caused by obsessive thoughts until the anxiety gradually resurfaces, thus forming a vicious cycle that is very difficult to break out of.

    Causes of OCD

    Although they cannot yet identify the causes of obsessive-compulsive disorder, factors are known that could explain its occurrence. The disease is known to affect both men and women and which frequently begins in adolescence. It is not excluded that its first symptoms also appear in early adulthood. In many cases, there are genetic factors that precipitate their further development, and in other cases, the trigger is a stressful event such as trauma, death of a family member, separation, etc.

    Some efficacy of serotonin reuptake inhibitor antidepressants is observed in the treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder and this suggests that it may be due to altered levels of serotonin, which is the neurotransmitter responsible for regulating mood, aggressiveness and impulsivity.


    Symptoms of OCD vary depending on the type of behavioral patterns they reproduce. Let’s see what are the main categories that are used to group these symptoms (and which usually occur at the same time in the same person).


    Obsessions revolve around scruples, forbidden thoughts, aggressive ideas, Fear of harming others, ideas of sexual content, search for symmetry in everything, fear of being contaminated.


    Compulsions or repetitive actions that have to do with behaviors such as making sure you’ve closed doors, turned off lights, turned off the water, etc. Or behaviors such as washing, putting things away, touching certain things or touching them in a certain way, counting, etc.

    Categories: types of patients

    Given the nature of obsessive thinking in people with OCD, the following categories have been established.

    1. Testers

    Classes repetitive actions to make sure all is well. For example, they make sure they have turned off the light, closed the door, etc.

    2. Collectors

    They store things without knowing how to dispose of them.

    3. Computers

    these people they need things to have a rigid and symmetrical distribution. The obsessive idea revolves around the idea of ​​perfection, but this perfectionism is pathological, because the moment never comes when the person is satisfied.

    4. Washers

    Their attention and concerns are focused on hygieneSo they are obsessed with real or hypothetical dirt. In addition, some people think they have an illness.

    5. Sexual

    They usually have recurring sexual thoughts and behaviors.

    6. With excessive responsibility

    these people they say they always have to do the right thing and in specific circumstances.

    7. With a magical thought

    People have unpleasant thoughts in which a certain action is linked disastrous consequences that are in no way objectively linked to the previous one.

    For example, a person may think that if they do not always do things the same way, it could lead to an illness, an accident or something serious for them and for some of their loved ones.

    8. Counters

    They present the need to count: Cars, numbers, windows, etc.

    9. Hypochondriacs

    They are defined as believing they are suffering from an illness and constantly going to the doctor, getting tested, looking for information on the Internet, forums, etc.

    Treatment of OCD

    In the treatment of this anxiety disorder, the drug is useful in relieving the symptoms, decreasing the frequency and intensity, but the treatment always it will need to be combined with specialized psychological therapy.

    Psychologist M.ª José Polo argues that one of the most widely used techniques in the treatment of OCD is exposure therapy and response prevention, Which help the patient to learn effective strategies to control obsessive thinking and decrease the behavior that causes alterations in his daily life.

    For example, in the Malaga office, Psychologists Málaga PsicoAbreu, who has more than 24 years of experience in the treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder, works with different psychological tools and techniques to help the person with OCD in their treatment, including the aforementioned therapy.

    The person with obsessive-compulsive disorder should understand that he must be consistent and responsible in his treatmentBoth by following the medication guidelines prescribed by the doctor, as well as by learning and reproducing the strategies learned during the psychotherapy sessions, for this it is essential to call on a specialized psychologist to guide any doubts that may arise. psychological treatment from start to finish.

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