The best types of medications for intrusive thoughts

Other treatments include the following, which people may use as a stand-alone treatment or in combination with medication:

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)

CBT is a type of psychotherapy that may be effective in treating various conditions, including:

  • anxiety disorders
  • eating disorders
  • psychiatric disorders

CBT works to change thinking patterns by helping people to:

  • learn to recognize distorted thoughts that are causing problems, and then see them in reality
  • learn problem-solving strategies to deal with difficulties
  • learn techniques to calm the mind and body
  • develop coping skills

CBT may provide significant improvement in how people are able to function and their quality of life. It may be as effective or more effective than other types of therapy or medication.

Exposure and response prevention therapy (ERP)

ERP is a type of CBT, that may be particularly beneficial to people with OCD.

With ERP, rather than trying to ignore or suppress an intrusive thought, people will learn to notice the thought and work with a healthcare professional to prevent any compulsive behavior that may result from it.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), ERP is an effective treatment for people with compulsive behaviors, even if medications were not effective.