ERP for Existential OCD: What It Is and How It Can Help

ERP for Existential OCD: What It Is and How It Can Help

Existential OCD, or “existence disorder,” is a little-known form of OCD that can be extremely debilitating. If you are struggling with existential doubts and fears, you may benefit from using an ERP program to treat your symptoms. In this blog post, we will discuss what existential OCD is, and how ERP can help you overcome your fears and doubts.

What is ERP For Existenial OCD?

What is ERP For Existenial OCD?

The best treatment for this type of OCD is Exposure Response Prevention Therapy (ERP).

ERP is when you voluntarily expose yourself to the source of your fear repeatedly without acting out any compulsion to neutralize or stop it.

Through this repeated exposure, your brain will eventually recognize and accept that the fear is not a danger.  With the help of a trained therapist, you can learn to cope with your intrusive thoughts, gain more control over them and eventually reduce the amount of distress they cause. ERP typically involves facing your fears in a step-by-step manner, starting with small exposures and gradually increasing the difficulty level once you feel comfortable enough. This type of therapy also includes cognitive restructuring, which is a process of changing the way you think about your thoughts. Through this type of therapy, you can learn to challenge the false beliefs and irrational thoughts that feed into your OCD. With repeated practice, ERP can help teach you how to better manage your anxiety and gain more control over your worries so that they do not consume your life.

ERP is not an easy process and it requires commitment and hard work. It is important to remember that with patience, dedication, and practice, ERP can be an effective treatment for Existential OCD. Through repeated exposure, you can learn to accept the uncertainty of life, challenge irrational thoughts and gain a greater sense of control over your worry. With help from a trained therapist, you can take steps toward recovery and gain the freedom to live life on your own terms.

How Do You Calm Existential OCD?

Existential-related OCD should be treated the same way as any other variety of OCD: Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP), a type of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) regarded as the gold standard of treatment for OCD. ERP helps people confront their fears and live with uncertainty by gradually exposing them to fear-provoking thoughts or situations, without engaging in their usual compulsions or avoidance behaviors.

Therapy may also focus on identifying the root causes of Existential OCD. People who have this type of OCD may be struggling with underlying feelings of insecurity, helplessness, or lack of control. Through therapy, they can learn to recognize these feelings and find healthy ways to cope with them. Additionally, mindfulness and meditation techniques may also be useful in helping people manage existential anxiety. Meditating regularly can help people gain perspective on their fears and develop a calmer relationship with uncertainty.

Can Medication Help Existential OCD?

Yes, medication can help to reduce the symptoms of Existential OCD. Common medications used to treat this type of OCD include Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) such as sertraline (Zoloft), citalopram (Celexa), escitalopram (Lexap to), and fluoxetine (Prozac). These medications work by increasing levels of serotonin in the brain, which can help to reduce feelings of anxiety.

In addition to medication, psychotherapy is often recommended to help those with Existential OCD. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Exposure Response Prevention (ERP) are two common forms of therapy used to treat Existential OCD. CBT helps individuals identify negative thoughts and replace them with more balanced and rational ones, while ERP gradually exposes individuals to the feared object or situation and helps to reduce the anxiety associated with it. Research suggests that a combination of medication and psychotherapy is often most effective in treating Existential OCD.

It is important to talk to your doctor or mental health provider if you are experiencing symptoms of Existential OCD, as they can help determine the best treatment option for you.

Can Existential OCD Cause Derealization?

Existential OCD can lead to derealization, a feeling of detachment from reality because it causes the sufferer to experience an intense fear of the unknown and an inability to make sense of life.

This can lead to a sense of detachment from reality and the feeling that everything around them isn’t quite real. It is also not uncommon for people with this disorder to experience difficulty focusing on day-to-day activities, such as work or school, because they are preoccupied with their thoughts and fears.

How Long Does ERP To Cure OCD?

ERP is a long-term treatment and it can take months or even years before someone with OCD starts to see results. The length of time that it takes to treat OCD depends on the severity of the symptoms and how often therapy sessions are attended. It can take a significant amount of time and effort to learn new skills and challenge thoughts and behaviors effectively, but with patience and dedication, people can see improvement in their symptoms over time. With continued treatment, it is possible to reduce obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors to manageable levels.

It is also important to remember that ERP is just one part of a larger treatment plan for OCD. Medication, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), can help manage the symptoms of OCD, while behavioral therapy provides strategies for managing symptoms in daily life. Combining different treatments can help improve results and increase the effectiveness of treatment.

Overall, ERP is a long-term treatment for OCD, but with dedication and perseverance, it can be an effective tool in managing the disorder and reducing symptoms over time.

How Often Should You Do ERP For OCD?

The frequency of ERP for OCD depends on the individual and their treatment plan. Generally, it is recommended to practice ERP at least three days per week, with additional sessions as needed. It is important to stick to a regular schedule so that progress can be tracked and maintained.

It’s also beneficial to do exposure exercises outside of structured sessions. You may also want to practice relaxation techniques throughout the day when you feel anxious or overwhelmed.

The length of time necessary to complete your ERP treatment will depend on how much progress you make and how long it takes to reduce symptoms. Generally, it can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months to complete the treatment process.

It’s important to give yourself time and ensure that you are comfortable with each step of ERP before you move on to the next one. Make sure to communicate any concerns or needs with your therapist so they can help you achieve the best possible outcome.

Overall, the frequency and duration of ERP for OCD will depend on the individual’s needs. The key is to be consistent and progress as comfortably as possible. With dedication and support from your therapist, you can work toward overcoming your symptoms and improving your quality of life.


It may be concluded that ERP for existential OCD is a valuable tool for treatment. It provides an opportunity to explore, process and manage confusing feelings of existential uncertainty in a safe and supported environment. In addition, it enables individuals to develop strategies to cope with their symptoms in order to gain emotional freedom and enhance their quality of life. Furthermore, it is important to seek professional help if symptoms persist or become overwhelming. With the help of a qualified mental health professional, sufferers of existential ocd can find relief and gain greater control over their lives.

Therefore, it is clear that ERP for existential ocd can provide much-needed relief from symptoms and help individuals move forward in life more confidently. With the right support and guidance, those suffering from this disorder can find relief, develop insight into their experience and overcome the obstacles they face. With this approach, individuals can reclaim their lives and find freedom from the restrictions of OCD.

For more information and guidance, please contact OCDMantra.  If you have any queries regarding OCD treatmentERP therapy experienced therapists at OCDMantra can help: Book a trial OCD therapy session