Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) can be difficult to live with. It’s a disorder that makes completing simple tasks challenging. The disorder is characterized by unrelenting intrusive thoughts, referred to as obsessions, coupled with incredibly powerful compulsions.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder can vary in levels of severity, from the person that simply likes objects meticulously lined up, to someone that can’t leave the house unless they flick the light switch 40 times. Individuals with OCD find it hard to function and report having a poor quality of life. Most don’t want to do these seemingly odd behaviors, but feel as though they have no other choice.
The good news is that this condition is treatable. Here are some of the available treatment options for OCD.
Psychiatrists often use multiple types of therapy to treat Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) is effective for many people with OCD, because it teaches coping skills for compulsions. Exposure and response prevention (ERP) is another type of cognitive behavioral therapy used to treat this disorder. It involves gradually exposing an individual to a feared obsession or object. It also teaches OCD sufferers healthy ways to cope with the anxiety they get from being around something they have an aversion to.
ERP takes a lot of time and practice, but when done properly, it is an incredibly effective treatment. Many people report having a better quality of life after they learn to manage their obsessions and compulsions. Therapy isn’t just useful for the individual either. Our practice in Delray Beach often recommends a combination of individual, family, and or group therapy for our patients struggling with OCD.
There are certain medications available that psychiatrists may prescribe to help control the obsessions and compulsions brought on by OCD. Antidepressants are the most utilized medical treatment option for OCD. There are currently multiple antidepressants approved by the FDA to treat OCD. This is good news because it means if one medication doesn’t work there are still more options available.
Here are the approved antidepressants for OCD:
• Clomipramine (Anafranil): For adults and children (10 years and older)
• Fluoxetine (Prozac): For adults and children (7 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)
Depending on the individual and psychiatrist, other antidepressants or psychiatric medication may be prescribed. It’s important to always be honest with your doctor when trying a new medication. Tell them if you are experiencing any side effects, suicidal thoughts, or not experiencing any change at all.
While a combination of psychotherapy and medication is usually effective at treating OCD, it doesn’t work for everyone. There is currently research going on to look at alternative treatments. Recently, the FDA cleared the use of deep transcranial magnetic stimulation (deep TMS or dTMS) for the treatment of OCD. This is intended for OCD that doesn’t respond to traditional treatment. It’s still a new treatment option so if you are considering it talk it through thoroughly with your psychiatrist so you understand all the pros and cons.
Contact us today to learn more about what treatment options we offer for obsessive compulsive disorder. We have a team of experienced professionals ready to help you. Remember, this is a treatable disorder and you can have your life back.