All right, everyone! Today I have a post from Marie Miguel about using online therapy to help treat mental health conditions like OCD.
Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health-related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of online mental health resources with BetterHelp.com. With an interest in and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.
Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is a mental health condition that can affect anyone of any age, race, gender, and culture. In other words, it can happen to anyone at any time or any place. But what is it exactly? Basically what it sounds like! If you have OCD, you have certain obsessions or compulsions. There are various types and different severities of OCD, which means each person with OCD has their own set of symptoms.
If you have persistent distressing impulses, thoughts, or images that you cannot control, you may be suffering from OCD. In many cases, the obsessions are irrational, figments of your imagination, but you cannot convince yourself of this even if you logically know it to be true. For example, you may obsess about being contaminated if you go out in public, or you may think something bad will happen if you do not line up your shoes in order of color. Logically, you know this doesn't make sense, but there's enough doubt that your brain is able to continue obsessing about it.
Compulsions are several different forms of behavior that accompany the disorder and often align with your obsessions. They are usually a repetitive behavior that you feel like you have to do to relieve distress. Some examples of compulsions include:
How Does Online Therapy Help?
So, how can therapy help someone with OCD? Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is the main form of treatment recommended for most mental illnesses. In CBT, a counselor teaches you how to change your thinking into more positive and healthy patterns. Exposure-response prevention (ERP) is a specific form of CBT recommended for OCD. In ERP, you face the fears that cause your obsessions while forcing yourself not to give into compulsive behaviors. Over time, the fear dies off. You may also be prescribed some type of antianxiety or antidepressant medication.
In some areas, it can be hard to find a therapist that you have the right dynamic with. Luckily, most therapy can be done online, which can also be a help to you if you have severe anxiety related to socializing or going to new places. By talking to a therapist online, you are able to communicate without actually having to leave the house at all. Studies have shown that telepsychology services like online therapy have a comparative effect to in-person treatment.
At BetterHelp, there are over 2,000 mental health professionals available to you online with no appointment necessary. You can use any kind of electronic device such as a phone, tablet, or computer to email, text, instant message, or talk on Skype or Facetime. If you might be suffering from OCD and need confidential, accessible support, consider reaching out to an online counselor today.
Thanks to Marie for that review of the topic! In my MLIS classes, I did research on telepsychology for teens, and I found a lot of interesting information. It's definitely something I'd recommend trying if in-person treatment isn't an option.
BetterHelp is a paid counseling service that looks to be pretty reputable. They also have a number of free articles about mental health on their website. Other free online and phone-related resources also exist and can help supplement counseling and medication. I listed a selection of them in my mental health guide for teens, but in case that gets taken down at some point, here they are:
If you're interested, check these resources out, and let us know about your experiences with telepsychology and other telemedicine! I'll be back next week with a "taking stock of my life" post.
Another note: WriteOnCon, my favorite writer's conference held online at a low price, is taking place next week, and the forums are currently open! Maybe I'll see you there? 😉
Images via Marie Miguel and Chrissy Pauley on FreeImages.
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