Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is characterized by recurrent, distressing obsessions and repetitive compulsive behaviors or mental rituals frequently performed to reduce the distress associated with the obsessions. This paper reviews maladaptive and adaptive coping responses used by individuals with OCD, including compulsions as an avoidant coping response, psychotherapeutic and pharmacological treatments, social and family support, lifestyle changes, and stress management. Although several gaps in the extant literature on coping with OCD were identified, a considerable body of research supports the use of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) with exposure and response prevention (E/RP) as an effective therapeutic technique for teaching long-lasting coping skills. Increased research is needed in the role of social support, exercise and dietary changes, and stress management skills on daily functioning in individuals with OCD. Implications and recommendations for future research are discussed.
Keywords: Obsessive-compulsive disorder, OCD, SSRI, CBT, exposure, coping, anxiety
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