How to Find an Intensive OCD Treatment Program

Hope for Those who Have not Responded to Standard Treatment

Patient during psychoanalysis session
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Although many effective medical and psychological treatments are available for obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), not all treatments work for everybody. Unfortunately, for some people, nothing seems to be effective. This is known as treatment-resistant OCD. To combat this, a number of intensive residential and inpatient treatment programs have been developed.

What is an Intensive Treatment Program?

The main feature of intensive treatment programs is interdisciplinary care that incorporates the joint expertise of physicians, psychologists, nurses, social workers, occupational therapists and other health professionals to design individualized treatment plans aimed at managing OCD symptoms that have proven difficult to treat using standard therapies.

In addition, these programs usually involve staying in the hospital for a specified period of time. While some programs require admission to the hospital for up to three months, other programs may only require admission for a few weeks or even just a weekend. These extended stays allow medications to be adjusted while under expert medical supervision, as well as provide many opportunities to undertake cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT).

Typically, you must have already tried other treatments without success, including outpatient therapy, in order to qualify for admission to an intensive treatment program. People who are admitted to intensive treatment programs often have other diagnoses to deal with as well, such as depression, an eating disorder like anorexia or bulimia, general anxiety disorder or bipolar disorder.

Available Intensive Treatment Programs

There are two types of intensive treatment programs available, inpatient and residential 

Inpatient treatment programs are for people who may be in danger of harming themselves or others and need immediate care. Admission to the hospital for a select period of time helps avert the medical crisis and get the patient on the right track and to the next step of treatment. 

Residential treatment programs are for people who are not a risk to themselves or others, but have not responded well to typical OCD treatments and need extra help.

Residential programs typically take place in a home-like environment where the patient stays for a prescribed period of time and receives 24-hour care. The program typically lasts around 60 days but can vary from person to person.

When Is It Time to Look for an Intensive OCD Treatment Program?

If medication and outpatient psychotherapy haven't worked for you or your loved one and OCD symptoms are taking over your life and making it difficult to function, it might be time to look into an intensive OCD treatment program. 

How do I Find an Intensive OCD Treatment Program?

The International OCD Foundation has compiled a list of intensive OCD treatment programs and organized them by geographic location.

In most cases, a referral from your family doctor or psychiatrist is necessary to be admitted to a program. You may need to talk to your health insurance company to find out if your insurance will cover this treatment and how much of the cost you will be responsible for. Residents of Canada should note that these intensive OCD treatment programs are often covered by provincial health insurance plans.


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