Treatment of OCD
Obsessive-compulsive disorder is one that is extremely serious but does not have a cure. You can always bring your symptoms under control, so they don’t mess up your daily life, but you can’t make the disorder go away. Medications and psychotherapy. Depending on the disorder’s severity, there are different treatments. Some people need long-term, ongoing, intensive treatment, while for some, the disease may get under control with some habitual changes.
There are two main treatments for OCD. One is psychotherapy, and the other is medications. Often, some people need a combination of both these in order to have the most effective treatment.
This is the type of therapy that helps you face your fears and obsessive thoughts.
The most effective form of therapy is Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT). To be more specific, the most effective type of CBT is Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP). This type of treatment has the most substantial evidence supporting its use in the management of OCD.
A licensed mental health professional usually conducts exposure and Response Prevention, be it a psychologist, mental health counselor, or a social worker in an outpatient setting. In this, the patient meets their therapist at a set time once or a few times a week. Medications and psychotherapy. It is possible that with this treatment, a licensed medical professional, like a physician or a psychiatrist, prescribes a medicine. For this to work, the physician and the counselor work hand in hand to devise a comprehensive treatment plan to get the best treatment.
ERP mixed with medication is a ‘first line’ treatment for OCD. Now, moving on to a more detailed description of medicinal treatment.
This is usually some antidepressant or anti-anxiety medicine that alters the brain chemistry in order to calm any obsessive thoughts.
Antidepressants that are approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of OCD include:
- Fluoxetine (Prozac) for adults and children 7 years and older
- Clomipramine (Anafranil) for adults and children 10 years and older
- Fluvoxamine for adults and children 8 years and older
- Paroxetine (Paxil, Pexeva) for adults only
- Sertraline (Zoloft) for adults and children 6 years and older
Every doctor prescribes different antidepressants to suit that very particular case.
However, there are certain things you may want to keep in mind when discussing medications for OCD:
- Your goal should be to control symptoms at the lowest possible dosage effectively. It is possible that you may have to try several drugs to find one that suits you eventually.
- All medications, especially psychiatric medications, have side effects. Talk to your doctor and inquire about the possible side effects of the drugs you will be taking. Keep your doctor in the loop for any side effects you may be experiencing.
- Make sure you inform your doctor about any and all over-the-counter drugs or medications you may be taking. Some antidepressants lower the effects of other medications. Some may even be dangerous when mixed with other medications.
Both of these treatments can be beneficial, but you must remember that it may take several months before you notice any benefit. Thus, ensure that you are regular with your medications and show up to all your appointments.