Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is characterized by repetitive and uncontrollable thoughts and behaviors that the sufferer feels like repeating. While the symptoms of the disorder may come and go, individuals suffering from OCD often try to avoid the trigger-generating situations or use substances like drugs or alcohol to calm their nerves. A recent study published in the journal Cognitive Therapy and Research in March 2018 established the effectiveness of adaptive coping skills compared to maladaptive strategies or avoidance attitude while dealing from OCD symptoms.
For their study, the authors compared the behavior of 60 OCD-afflicted patients with 110 patients with depression and 1050 adults basis Maladaptive and Adaptive Coping Styles Questionnaire (MAX). The questionnaire was developed by lead researcher Steffen Moritz of the University Hospital Hamburg in Germany and his colleagues. The questionnaire measured the participants’ maladaptive coping, adaptive coping and avoidance strategies. In addition to covering traditional coping styles like problem-solving (adaptive skill) and rumination (maladaptive skill), it also measured the strategies that have not yet received much attention like acceptance and suppression strategies. The participants with OCD were also provided separate tests to measure the severity of obsessions, compulsions and resistance as well as the severity of frequent OCD subtypes. Additionally, individuals suffering with depression were also assessed on the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale that measured their mood, feelings of guilt, anxiety and suicidal ideation, among others.
As per the study results, healthy controls scored more on adaptive skills compared to individuals with depression and OCD symptoms. The authors also found avoidance to be higher in both the categories. Additionally, compared to healthy individuals and those with depression, OCD patients showed less adaptive coping skills. They were also found to have fewer functional skills and were likely to have poor knowledge about their symptoms, and weak resistance. According to the authors, rather than adopting maladaptive strategies, such as repetitive behavior or creating emotional distance from a situation, those suffering from OCD should imbibe alternative coping skills to effectively manage their condition.
Early intervention can prevent OCD and other disorders later in life
According to Moritz, learning coping skills earlier during one’s lifetime especially, during childhood when children are exposed to bullying and academic stress, may not only be helpful in dealing with challenging situations during teen or adolescent years, but also in reducing the vulnerability to depression and other mental disorders later in life.
While the study helped explain lack of adaptive coping skills in OCD patients, further research is required to discover to what extent improving such skills during childhood and adolescence through behavioral therapies like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) may help improve an individual’s life.
Path to recovery
Timely diagnosis and effective treatment at a professional rehab center can help one become stable and take part in normal life activities. Successful OCD treatment may combine medications, experiential therapies or psychotherapies. A leading residential treatment facility in Florida, Sovereign Health offers effective and intensive evidence-based treatments for mental health disorders. Our state-of-the-art OCD treatment centers spread in various parts of the country offer serene and trigger-free environment conducive to recovery. The therapeutic programs are tailor-made to suit patients’ needs in order to treat them holistically. For more information on our behavioral health treatment programs or to locate the best OCD treatment centers in Florida, call our 24/7 helpline number or chat online with a representative.
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