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Mental Health - REACH Program at Bridgeport Hospital

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The REACH OCD/Anxiety Disorders Program at Bridgeport Hospital has been named the 2024 Program of the Year by the Association for Ambulatory Behavioral Health.

The OCD/Anxiety Disorders Program was established in 2023 through a collaboration between the Yale School of Medicine OCD Research Clinic and REACH. The OCD/Anxiety Disorders program at Bridgeport Hospital is one of only two dedicated intensive programs in the United States offering exposure and response prevention (ERP) with medication management that accepts state and government insurance.

“This is a program that has really made a difference for those suffering the debilitating effects of OCD,” said Brian Zaboski, PhD, ABPP, assistant professor of Psychiatry at the Yale School of Medicine and the Director of the OCD and Anxiety Disorders Program at REACH. “It is an honor for us to be recognized nationally and to provide these services to our community.”

All psychiatric treatment services within the IOP are offered in a specialized facility separate from the hospital. As a part of Yale New Haven Health, Bridgeport Hospital can facilitate access to YNHHS experts for patients and families enrolled in the REACH Program.

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In addition to the OCD/Anxiety Disorders Program, REACH also offers intensive outpatient tracks with medication management for general mental health problems (adults), co-occurring disorders (adults), psychosis (adults), as well as one general track for children and one for adolescents. They all provide group-based treatment options for patients in need of intensive therapeutic services following a psychiatric hospitalization or to prevent a hospitalization. The programs are structured, supportive, and use a variety of group therapy interventions within a nurturing environment to help patients achieve their treatment goals. The IOPs offer consistent engagement with a board-certified psychiatrist and/or psychiatric nurse practitioner, providing patient-centered support and tailored medication management services.

The OCD and Anxiety disorders treatment track at Bridgeport Hospital is an intensive outpatient program for individuals ages 18 years and older with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and impairing anxiety disorders. OCD includes unwanted or intrusive thoughts, images, or urges (obsessions) that cause distress. Individuals suffering from OCD engage in repetitive behaviors or thoughts (compulsions) that temporarily alleviate the distress caused by the obsessions. Similarly, individuals with impairing anxiety, such as phobias, experience excessive fear and often engage in persistent avoidance behaviors.

Patients who have OCD or anxiety feel fear or distress followed by the need to engage in compulsions or avoidance to feel better. This relief is only temporary, however, and fear often returns stronger than before.

The OCD and Anxiety Disorders Track at REACH is designed to break this cycle. This is done through an evidence-based technique called exposure and response prevention (ERP). The program is highly structured and individualized. With this technique, REACH staff encourage gradual, supported approaches of feared experiences. It includes individualized interventions in a group environment that increase one’s ability to face feared experiences in a safe and tolerable way.

ERP is recommended for OCD and anxiety disorders by National organizations including the International OCD Foundation, American Psychological Association, American Psychiatric Association, and Anxiety and Depression Association of America.

In addition to the OCD/Anxiety Disorders Program, REACH also offers intensive outpatient tracks with medication management for general mental health problems (adults), co-occurring disorders (adults), psychosis (adults), as well as one general track for children and one for adolescents. They all provide group-based treatment options for patients in need of intensive therapeutic services following a psychiatric hospitalization or to prevent a hospitalization. The programs are structured, supportive, and use a variety of group therapy interventions within a nurturing environment to help patients achieve their treatment goals. The IOPs offer consistent engagement with a board-certified psychiatrist and/or psychiatric nurse practitioner, providing patient-centered support and tailored medication management services.

All psychiatric treatment services within the IOP are offered in a specialized facility separate from the hospital. As a part of Yale New Haven Health, Bridgeport Hospital can facilitate access to YNHHS experts for patients and families enrolled in the REACH Program.