Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a unique condition affecting both children and adults. Fundamentally, OCD sufferers become fearful that certain actions may harm themselves or others (obsessive) and, to avoid that harm, repeat preventive actions over and over (compulsive). While some OCD sufferers recognize their obsessions as not likely to result in harm, others believe strongly in the impending harm and are unable to lead productive lives.
The cause of OCD remains unknown; however, it is believed that both biological and environmental factors are involved. Scientists believe that blocked neuropaths prevent proper communication in the brain, impacting judgment and planning among the different areas that control body movement and reason. Evidence indicates that this may be genetic, and investigations continue to determine the link between OCD and bacterial infections. There is concern that environmental influencers, such as abuse or stress, may trigger or worsen the symptoms, but there is no evidence establishing a link from factors such as air quality.
Available OCD Treatments
Treatments for OCD typically involve counseling and medication. Professionals trained to help sufferers manage OCD utilize a cognitive-behavioral therapy, exposure and response prevention, which gradually increases the patient’s contact with the object of their obsession, building their confidence that the feared harm is not a reality. This treatment may ease the compulsions, but patients are likely to continue experiencing mild obsessions.
Medications used to treat OCD include antidepressants, such as Paxil, Prozac and Zoloft, which are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and work by changing the levels of serotonin among certain neurotransmitters and improving the brain’s ability to send and receive chemical messages. Most people who take SSRIs begin to feel better within weeks, while others take several months.
Medicines for OCD Treatment
Studies involving patients with OCD continue to produce more effective medicines. While the antidepressant Anafranil has been used the longest, medicines such as Prozac, Luvox, Paxil, and Zoloft also provide effective symptom relief and seem to work better for children and adolescents. Cymbalta is an option for OCD patients who do not respond well to other OCD medications. Get more information about popular OCD medications below or get coupons for these and other medications at our OCD Conditions Page.
Anafranil (clomipramine) a tricyclic antidepressant, is commonly used for treating OCD, and is also effective for depression, panic attacks and chronic pain. Anafranil has the longest history in OCD treatment and works by restoring the balance of various substances which occur naturally in the brain.
Prozac (fluoxetine) is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) used for acute treatment and maintenance of major depressive disorders in patients from 8 years of age to adulthood. Prozac is a monotherapy but has been used in combination with olanzapine in adult patients who do not respond to at least two separate trials of antidepressant regimens.
Luvox (fluvoxamine) is an SSRI that works by restoring the balance of serotonin present in the brain. Luvox can be successful for OCD treatment and has been used to treat bipolar depression, panic disorders, posttraumatic stress (PTSD), and depression.
Paxil (paroxetine) is an SSRI effective in the treatment of depression, OCD, social anxiety, PTSD, and has been found useful for premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) and moderate to severe hot flashes brought on by menopause.
Zoloft (sertraline) is a preferred SSRI in patients with mild to moderate OCD, because it can provide improvement with low starting doses combined with psychotherapy.
Cymbalta (duloxetine) is a selective serotonin and norepinephrine uptake inhibitor (SNRI) that affects the brain in making and releasing chemicals. Cymbalta is an option for OCD patients who do not respond to at least two prior therapies with other medicines and is effective in relieving the chronic pain from diabetes or fibromyalgia.
Finding the best medication that works for managing your symptoms can be difficult. Consult your doctor for more information about OCD treatment plans.