Response imbalance therapy is a new alternative for the treatment of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) that, so far, looks promising.
OCD is a very common disorder, in fact, we can all meet someone who has it, but we don't know how to help you.
For those who suffer from OCD, life becomes very distressing, especially when they are aware of the valuable time at stake.
Luckily, every day the affected person has the possibility to start a treatment and change their reality completely.
What is the TOC?
This disorder is so complex that the World Health Organization has considered it as one of the main causes of disability, especially for individuals whose ages range between 15 and 44 years, as indicated by some studies.
Research in the area defines obsessive compulsive disorder as:
"An intense anxiety disorder, with recurring obsessions or compulsions that consume a lot of time or cause a marked discomfort or significant deterioration in daily functioning."
What are obsessions and compulsions about?
The inquiries on this subject show that obsessions can be defined as:
"Any thoughts, images or impulses that come to mind on a recurring basis, persistent that are experienced at some point in the disorder as intrusive and inappropriate and that cause significant anxiety or discomfort."
Instead, compulsions are:
"The behaviors that the person who has obsessions perform to lower anxiety, which are becoming repetitive, illogical and require time, in addition to only lowering the anxiety momentarily."
So, as experts have emphasized, obsessions can contemplate:
- Feeling afraid of getting contaminated, or germs.
- Feeling anxious about the idea of missing something.
- Worrying that something bad could happen to the person or others.
- Have unwanted thoughts.
- Taboos about sex.
- Keep objects symmetrically, among others.
Compulsions may include:
- Wash or excessively clean a part of the body.
- Store unnecessary objects.
- Sort things accurately.
- Check that the oven is off, or the door closed.
- List things repeatedly, among others.
What is Response Imbalance Therapy for OCD?
This therapy allows those affected can carry out their own treatment, without having to be present in a consultation, but to do it in the same scenario where the symptoms arise.
By applying the response imbalance therapy the symptoms may decrease, or be completely eliminated in eight sessions a week, dedicating about fifteen minutes daily.
One of the advantages of this type of therapy is that the results mean a reduction of stress for patients, as well as for therapists.
The Response Imbalance Therapy (RDx), is a different option to the treatments that have traditionally been used and that is why it has been so attractive.
This therapy is not focused on what causes the symptoms in the patient, but rather establishes a link, in a controlled manner, between symptomatic behavior and positive activity It is done daily.
So, to access the positive activity it is necessary to reduce the negative behavior. That is, executing positive activity must be something that is won.
When this restriction is established - or this type of link is formed -, then the two behaviors go into imbalance, so patients will work to reduce symptomatic behavior in order to have a new balance.
Application example of Response Imbalance Therapy to treat OCD
The operation itself is simple, although you must be truly committed to its execution so as not to make "traps" that would completely invalidate the ultimate goal of the treatment.
Let's imagine a patient with OCD and washes his hands 18 times a day, not to mention the times when he should do it - just like when he used the toilet.
This same patient has a positive behavior that is watching television for an hour and a half a day.
According to RDx treatment, a link is established between being able to watch television and reduce the episodes in which the patient washes their hands.
During the first week you can work to reduce handwashing by half, that is, nine episodes.
As the daily wash episode decreases, it increases ten minutes to watch TV, these are deposited symbolically in a checkbook.
If the patient has not earned time, then he will not be able to watch television, but he has achieved it, he will not have deprivation.
Afterwards, work will continue to reduce the number of episodes of daily washing until it is completely eliminated.
For now, this type of therapy is the one that promises to be faster to treat OCD, although the authors who carried out the study have emphasized that perhaps it would not work for all patients equally, however, it is a good advance and A reason to see the future with optimism.
De la Torre-Luque, A., & Valero-Aguayo, L. (2017). Acceptance and Commitment Therapy as an Election Treatment for OCD: a Case Study. Psychotherapy Magazine. //doi.org/10.33898/rdp.v28i106.150
J.A. Yaryura-Tobias, F. Neziroglu, R.L. Pérez Rivera, T. B. (2002). Treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder. Journal of Psychiatry of Uruguay.
Lóyzaga, C., & Nicolini, H. (2000). OCD Pharmacological Treatment. Mental health.
Pareja, M. (2001). Effective psychological treatments for obsessive compulsive disorder. Psicothema
Richard M. McFall, James Allison, Richard J. Viken, William Timberlake. Response-Disequilibrium Therapy: Clinical Case Studies.
TOC Obsessions and Compulsions. Cognitive treatment. (2011). Argentine Journal of Psychological Clinic.