Last week I received an email from a woman in her thirties who has had OCD since she was a child. She came across one of my articles and was interested in learning more about exposure and response prevention (ERP) therapy, as she had never heard of it. She had been to all kinds of health care providers over the years, but she had never heard of ERP.
Unfortunately, emails such as hers are not uncommon, but boy are they frustrating. She’s had OCD for twenty plus years and never heard of ERP? This realization jolts me out of my little corner of the world (or blogosphere) where everyone knows about ERP therapy because we talk about it over and over again. Is progress actually being made? Are we really getting the word out? Sometimes I just don’t think so.
It’s bad enough that so many people with OCD are not familiar with the proper treatment, but when I see articles such as this one, I become even more discouraged. On the surface, it’s positive news:
“High-intensity focused ultrasound may help relieve symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) in hard-to-treat patients, according to preliminary findings of new research.”
But if you read the article, you will likely see what I noticed right away. There is no mention whatsoever of ERP therapy, or any Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for that matter. The study mentioned in the article was conducted by Jin Woo Chang, M.D., Ph.D., with results published in the Journal of Molecular Psychiatry. Dr. Chang says:
“There is a need for non-invasive treatment options for patients with OCD that cannot be managed through medication.”
Hmm. Non-invasive treatment options. ERP anyone?
The article goes on to talk about focused ultrasound as a possible good non-invasive treatment option for those with OCD. I think it’s great that this technique shows promise…..but not even a mention of ERP therapy? It boggles my mind.
Someone searching for treatments for OCD who stumbles on this article might easily assume medication, surgery, and possibly this new ultrasound procedure are their only options. What about exposure and response prevention (ERP) therapy, which is recommended as the first line psychological treatment for OCD by the American Psychological Association? Why is that not included?
Honestly, I have no idea. Do you?