Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Treatment
- What It Is
- Risk Factors
- Living With
- User Questions
- Alternative Treatment
- Care Guide
- Questions for Your Doctor
- When to Contact a Doctor
- Find a Doctor
- Resource Guide
How to Treat Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
Treatment reduces OCD thoughts and behaviors. But treatment does not completely eliminate them. Most commonly, treatment is a combination of medication and cognitive behavioral therapy.
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) reduce OCD symptoms by affecting the neurotransmitter serotonin. This function is independent of their antidepressant effects. SSRIs include:
- Fluoxetine (Prozac)
- Fluvoxamine (Luvox)
- Paroxetine (Paxil)
- Sertraline (Zoloft)
Other medications used include clomipramine (Anafranil) and clonazepam (Klonopin). Clomipramine is a tricyclic antidepressant drug that alters serotonin levels. Clonzepam is a benzodiazepine that relieves anxiety.
Behavioral therapy addresses the actions associated with OCD; cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) addresses both the thought processes and the actions associated with OCD.
Examples of therapies used to treat OCD include:
- Exposure and response prevention-helps you gradually confront the feared object or obsession without giving in to the compulsive ritual linked to it
- In patients who are also taking SSRIs, this form of therapy may be more effective than stress management training.
- Aversion therapy-use of painful stimulus to prevent OCD behavior
- Thought switching-patient learns to replace negative thoughts with positive thoughts
- Flooding-intense exposure to object that causes OCD behavior
- Implosion therapy-repeated exposure to object that causes fear
- Thought stopping-patient learns to stop negative thoughts
An implantable brain device has received limited FDA approval to treat severe cases of OCD. Often called a brain pacemaker, the device delivers mild electrical impulses to the brain to interrupt OCD symptoms.