Health Library

 

OCD: Exposure and Prevention Therapy

Topic Overview

Exposure and response prevention (ERP) therapy is an effective way to treat obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). With ERP, you repeatedly expose yourself to an obsession, such as something you fear is contaminated. Then you deny yourself the ritual compulsive act. In this case, the act would be washing your hands.

ERP helps break the link between your obsessive thoughts and compulsive rituals. You repeat this process every day for several weeks or months. You keep doing it until your anxiety is reduced and you do not feel the need to perform the compulsive behavior in response to the obsessive thought.

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Patrice Burgess, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Lisa S. Weinstock, MD - Psychiatry
Current as of June 5, 2012

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

© 1995-2014 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.

Additional Resources

First Nurse

  • First Nurse: Talk to one of our nurses 24 hours a day for free health care advice, resources and referrals! Call 515-239-6877 or 800-524-6877.
  • Health Library: Search our online library containing information on health conditions, medications, medical tests, and more.

Symptom Checker

Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.

Symptom Checker