Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a condition that causes perfectly rational people to think and act in ways they know are irrational, but cannot stop. People with OCD get caught in a cycle of obsessions and compulsions. Obsessions are unwanted, intrusive thoughts, images, or urges that trigger intensely distressing feelings. Compulsions are behaviors an individual engages in to attempt to get rid of the obsessions and/or decrease his or her distress.
This cycle of obsessions and compulsions becomes so extreme that it consumes a lot of time and gets in the way of important activities that the person values.
Luckily there is real help for OCD. One type of CBT is called Exposure & Response Prevention (ERP) and it has been shown to significantly reduce the symptoms of OCD. In this evidence-based therapy the person with OCD learns how to address his or her feared thoughts and sensations (OBSESSIONS) without engaging in the unhelpful behaviors being used to temporarily reduce the distress (COMPULSIONS).