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Intense OCD Symptoms: How to determine Severity Level & a Unique Treatment Option

According to the YBOCS assessment, which is used to measure OCD severity, there are 5 different severity categories: mild, moderate, moderate-severe, severe, & extreme. Not sure where you fall on this spectrum? Not a problem! For many people, this question is triggered while they are going to therapy and not finding it helpful or seeing progress they would like. Sometimes standard OCD treatment is not enough and you need a more intensive approach to accurately address the problem. Here are some helpful things to look out for to determine if you have serve OCD that requires more intensive treatment.

Obsessions & Compulsions

Everyone with OCD spends time thinking about obsessions and doing compulsions, but if it's over 3 hours or the person has the inability to resist their compulsions it might fall into the severe category. For obsessions this could look like playing every different scenario of a triggering situation in your head. For compulsions this could look like doing an physical activity (such as walking through a door frame or signing the cross) or a mental activity (i.e. thinking of something happy or reviewing a memory). Another good sign that you may fall in the severe category is if you are attempting to hide your behaviors from those around you. Can you think of anything else you would have liked to do with those 3 hours?

Interfering with Life

Not everyone with OCD has difficulties with their OCD interfering with their life. Although they're increasing their probability of relapse, they can complete their rituals in a way that still allows them to engage in valued activities. If OCD is interfering with your life, you could fall into the severe category. This could be as a result of obsessions or compulsions and could look like someone no longer watching their favorite sports team because he does his bathroom routine at that time or not being able to spend time outside on nature hike's anymore because of their extreme fear of germs. OCD is not more important than our values.

Treatment Options

Unfortunately, there are few residential programs for OCD/Anxiety in the country and tend to have month long waitlists. In addition to this, IOP day programs have been closed or virtual because of pandemic. But don't panic! There is still another solution. Have you considered intensive outpatient therapy as a part of your treatment journey options? When I say intensive outpatient treatment, that's exactly what I mean. Using your current outpatient provider (assuming they are OCD specialists) to get the same benefits they would get in a residential or IOP day program. So here what you could try:

  • Picking the right residential program for you or your loved ones needs.

  • Starting the admissions process to get on the waitlist.

  • If you already work with an OCD specialist, during the admissions process inform your therapist that you would like to increase sessions until your admitted into a residential program.

  • If you do not, contact Bianca to get more information on OCD specialists or book a diagnostic evaluation to get started.

  • Meet with your outpatient therapist for the number of sessions per week y'all decided upon together until you are admitted into the residential program.

Utilizing this approach allows them to be prepared to hit the ground running when they admit to residential and save your financial resources. How will this help you save money? Because they should not need as long of a stay in residential since they were doing intensive work before. If you would like more information or to see if intensive outpatient therapy is a good option for you or your loved one you can read out to Bianca to learn more.


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