Managing OCD-in-Remission

My OCD has been in remission for about six years now– six delicious years of sweet freedom! Have I had any flare-ups? Yes, a handful, but nothing like I used to experience.

Here’s what I’ve learned.

1. Anticipate setbacks.
Is life particularly awesome lately? Are you feeling joyful? Your OCD hates that and will likely be along shortly to steal what it can from you. Be ready for it and …

2. Return immediately to ERP.
Do not pass GO. Do not collect $200.  Just dive headfirst into an old exposure. Doing this shows OCD that you’re still calling the shots and brimming with bravery.

There. It’s as straightforward as that.

What other tips do you have for managing OCD in remission?

do not pass go ERPImage clearly modified by me 🙂

Medication vs. Exposure Therapy

meds vs erpI have always been honest about my personal experience with OCD on this blog.  Faithful readers are well aware of my mama-bear protective instincts in regard to my medication.  I take Prozac, Effexor XR, and Risperdal each day and am utterly unapologetic about it.

That said, I completely understand that others have their own reasons (personal, medical, or otherwise) for avoiding medication, and that is perfectly fine by me (so long as no one tries to rob me of my meds, haha!).

People sometimes ask, Is it possible for me to treat my OCD and avoid medication all together?

While the answer varies from person to person, the best response I can give is that YES, it has been done with ERP (exposure and response prevention therapy) alone.  In fact, were I pushed to choose between my three daily doses of meds or my 12 weeks of ERP, it would be one of the easiest decisions of my life to choose ERP.

Every person is different.  I have an obsessive-compulsive friend who treats her OCD with only meds– she has never undergone ERP.  The son of one of my blogger friends uses only his tools gained from ERP– no meds.  Then there’s me, a girl who wants(/needs?) a full arsenal to treat her disorder.

So, what will it be for you?

The best treatment is ERP, hands down.  Start there.  See how you do.  If you can find an OCD specialist whom you trust, you may try to fold meds into the mix if you find that you need them.  It’s (unfortunately) a trial-and-error kind of thing.

Will you be okay without meds?  Maybe.  You’ll have to discover that for yourself.
Has it been done before?  Absolutely.

Hope that is helpful!