When you reach the top of your hierarchy or hierarchies it is important to continue engaging in ERP on a daily basis in order to maintain management of your symptoms, also known as engagement in relapse prevention. Whether you have completed your OCD treatment with a treatment provider, discharged from an OCD treatment center or engaged in ERP independently, it is important that you continue to engage in ERP to maintain your progress. Planned and unplanned exposures provide an opportunity to pull out your OCD tools and engage in ERP in order to keep your OCD symptoms at bay. There are many tools such as websites, self-help workbooks, support groups, etc. that provide ERP accountability to help further promote relapse prevention. Remember, when you are triggered or engage in rituals you have the tools to get back on track. ERP should become a part of your daily life and can be used anytime you need it. If you experience an uptick in symptoms and feel you need extra support, schedule an appointment with an OCD provider so they can support you in this process. Remember, OCD management is not black and white and often symptoms may come and go but ERP remains the same and you can use the tools you learned in treatment now and in the future.
Videos: Relapse Prevention
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Jonathan S. Abramowitz explains the difference between lapse and relapse. He recommends that if one starts noticing some obsessions or compulsions, he should go back to the techniques that helped him get better,
Dr. Elizabeth McIngvale talks about OCD management and maintaining progress.
Throstur Bjorgvinsson, PhD, ABPP, discusses the importance of continuing doing what one learned in treatment, even after therapy sessions are over.