I found the article Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Pharmacological Therapy with Behavioral Therapy to be Very Interesting. Through Mary's story I have learned a lot of new and interesting information concerning Obsessive Compulsive Disorders. Mary had several symptoms of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, the most obvious being the excessive hand washing. One of the common obsessions of OCD is contamination fears of germs, dirt, etc. and the common compulsion is washing, which in Mary's case became so excessive that it was taking 6 to 8 hours of her day. She also spent hours cleaning her house ridding it of dirt and dust.
Another symptom of Mary's OCD was her increasing limit of contact with family and friends. Mary's treatment included a variety of different aspects. Due to the severity of Mary's depressed mood and suicidal thoughts Mary was treated as an inpatient. Mary's treatment began with a prescription for an antidepressant and was followed by milieu therapy, which consisted of general supportive care, group discussions and was educated on OCD.
Next Mary had behavior therapy which consisted of two elements: exposure therapy and behavior contracting. Her exposure therapy obviously included exposure to the holy wafer, which was the object of her obsession. And the her behavior contracting included specific agreements which limits her compulsive behavior such as an agreement to limit her hand washing until eventually it was reduced to a normal amount. The follow-up assessments indicated that Mary's treatment had been a success. She had a virtual absence of her compulsive behavior and little disturbance from her obsessional thoughts.
The thing I found most interesting about this study is that I did not realize the seriousness of OCD until after reading this article. In particular it was interesting to read that after treatment Mary's husband reported that as far as he could tell, Mary's obsessions had become less frequent and less severe over time. To me I would think that it would take longer to over come a compulsive disorder such as that that Mary had. To me, it was almost like one week Mary was washing her hands 8 hours a day and the next week she was cured from her compulsion.
Actually the article did sate that after one week of behavior therapy Mary washed her hand fewer that five times a day, she made no attempt to clean objects around the room, and most importantly, she no longer felt the need to avoid or family member. How could her therapy work so fast? Another thing that I found interesting was that instead of Mary fearing of being contaminated she feared contaminating things and the people around her. Personally, I do not think that I would have done anything differently if I was Mary's metal health provider. I liked the fact that her provider included Mary's family in the OCD education process. I would think that a calm, supportive family could help improve the outcome of Mary's treatment. Mary's bevaior therapy also proved to be a success for her..