Treatments for Compulsive Behaviors


Getting over compulsive behaviors can be hard, but with the appropriate treatment you can ease the burden of doing so. There are numerous approaches to overcoming compulsions, the most expensive being residential treatment. If you find the severity of your condition to be to the point that you’re running yourself dry, then perhaps an inpatient is the best alternative. However, given the costliness of enlisting in a treatment center, there are many other cheap and effective treatments that can be sought out first. This article will highlight three of them: Self-help, medication and cognitive-behavioral therapy.

Self-help programs are ubiquitous these days; you can find self-help books and websites that offer different relaxation techniques. Many of them will focus on helping you to identify the triggers and thought processes behind your compulsions. Once you’ve achieved some level of clarity, you will then have to focus on coping with your behaviors when they happen. Many obsessive-compulsive sufferers are told to challenge their compulsions by questioning the rationality of their actions and dismissing the impulse with something along the lines of ‘that’s just my OCD (Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder)’ in their heads. These programs are extremely detailed, offering step by step instructions and breathing techniques to help calm the compulsive mind.

Another option is medication, which is additionally used to treat many forms of drug addiction. Psychiatrists will usually prescribe antidepressants because they increase levels of serotonin in the brain, which is lacking in many OCD patients. Other serotonin drugs are prescribed specifically for compulsive behaviors, some of which include Zoloft and Prozac. While these drugs won’t completely obliterate the symptoms of compulsive behaviors, they will make them fade until the patient can resume their normal thought process. The only drawback to using these medications is that the symptoms usually reappear once the patient stops taking them long enough.

The last and debatably most effective option is Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT). CBT is statistically one of the most successful treatment options for substance abusers. When dealing with compulsive behaviors, therapists will often force the patient to confront their fears. Someone who washes their hands repeatedly will more than likely be instructed to touch the door handle of a public restroom and not wash their hands. Hoarders will only be permitted to collect so many items, and in doing this will confront some of the fears that compel them to act as they do. While not completely treating them of their symptoms right away, CBT is a long-term cure that will make life much easier.

All of the options listed above are the most cost-effective treatments that can be pursued for treating compulsive behaviors. Millions of people suffer from things like OCD and millions more don’t do anything about it because they’re either embarrassed or don’t feel it’s serious enough to treat. Compulsive behavior holds you back and, in many cases, burns through resources necessary for every day survival. Like drug addiction, compulsions can take over and dictate the course of your life, straining and alienating you from valuable relationships. Doing anything to treat these behaviors is one step in the right direction for a life of normalcy and everyday convenience.

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