Regence partnership offers new support for managing obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)

By Regence
August 31, 2020
Person Arranging The Pencils On White Background

NOCD’s mission is to create a better everyday life for people with OCD by making care more accessible, more connected, and more effective

The near constant reminders to wash hands, physically distance, wear masks and wipe down frequently used surfaces can help keep these important safety practices top of mind. At the same time, however, the steady flow of information may only serve to exacerbate symptoms in people managing obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

Our new partnership with NOCD provides Regence members managing OCD with a unique and proven approach to treatment. NOCD’s head of clinical services, Patrick McGrath, PhD, shares more about OCD symptoms and treatments below.

NOCD CEO Patrick McGrath PhD

The coronavirus outbreak has caused an increase in anxiety in just about everyone, leading us to adopt new behaviors to decrease the chances of getting ourselves, or others, sick. While it’s reasonable and ethically responsible to take COVID-19 seriously and be more careful, the added risks and responsibilities have worsened many people’s obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

OCD is a common, chronic condition where a person has recurring unwanted thoughts, images, urges, and fears (obsessions) that trigger significant anxiety, which leads to repetitive physical or mental behaviors (compulsions) in an attempt to reduce the resulting distress. That relief is only temporary, igniting an endless cycle if not treated.

During the pandemic, the new requirements, uncertainty of day-to-day life, disruption of routines, and distance from loved ones may be increasing the frequency of unwanted thoughts, images, or urges for people with OCD. Those who are distressed with thoughts that they will accidentally infect someone may respond by ramping up their handwashing or cleaning efforts, to the point of exhaustion and having cracked and peeling hands. Others who are desperately searching for certainty about COVID-19 may respond by excessively seeking new information from the news or internet.

These are only two of the many ways people with OCD find their symptoms intensifying during the outbreak. We also have no way to estimate how long this might go on—creating a perfect storm of uncertainty for anxious minds. Therefore, receiving a diagnostic assessment and therapy from a licensed OCD-trained professional may be more beneficial than ever. However, due to ever-changing regulations, many people are finding themselves unable to physically go in for appointments.

For people with OCD, the good news is that the most effective therapy for OCD—Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP)—is just as effective when conducted via online video appointments as it is in an office. When done with a licensed OCD therapist, ERP is the most reliable way to decrease the amount of distress caused by OCD.

Trying to "fight" thoughts, images, or urges is a losing battle, so ERP works by helping people recognize and resist their compulsions. It gradually teaches them that they can tolerate even their most distressing obsessions.

This involves careful planning and constant adjustment, so ERP is most effective when practiced with a therapist who has specialized training. An OCD-trained therapist can create a personalized treatment program to help people effectively manage their OCD.

Thankfully, Regence offers members a diagnostic assessment and specialized online therapy through a partnership with NOCD. NOCD provides live one-on-one video therapy with OCD and ERP-trained therapists, helping reduce OCD symptoms for most people in just a few weeks. Between sessions, members can access a peer community and personalized self-management tools at any time for ongoing support.

Schedule a free 15-minute phone call with NOCD at (312) 766-6780 or visit to learn more about how to work with an in-network therapist to help manage your OCD, especially during these times of heightened anxiety. It could be one of the most important calls you ever make.