OCD is a Treatable Medical Condition
OCD Medication Information

Medication alone generally does not provide the same level of relief as Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT).

Medication may be prescribed by a psychiatrist for moderate to severe OCD, often on a temporary basis.  Once the client is able to better manage the anxiety and stress during CBT, the medication may be gradually reduced and then eliminated.  It should never be discontinued abruptly.

Antidepressants classified as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are known to decrease OCD symptoms in many people.  The type approved for use and the number of these medications that are recommended differs between adults and children.

Because body chemistry among individuals can vary greatly, the medication prescribed and the dosage will vary.  Some people with OCD respond well to the first medication prescribed; others will need to try more than one, under medical supervision, to find the one that is most effective.  Most of these medications do not produce immediate symptom relief; some may begin to work after a few weeks, but often it may take 12 weeks or more to notice relief.

Sometimes an SSRI will be prescribed in combination with another medication to ease symptoms. It’s important to work with a psychiatrist who is experienced in prescribing and monitoring different medications for OCD and who can assess their effectiveness.  Patience and medical guidance are necessary to ensure that no allergy or side effects develop that would interfere with general health or the patient’s ability to undergo CBT.  CBT sessions may begin at any time after medication is prescribed, depending on the individual’s reaction to the medications.

Although medication can be helpful in treating OCD, many experts believe that Cognitive Behavior Therapy can be effective more quickly in treating OCD symptoms, and has longer-lasting benefits.  Studies have shown that lower relapse rates occur when CBT is discontinued than when medication is stopped.  If medication is prescribed, many experts believe it should be done in conjunction with CBT because the combination is generally more effective than medication alone.

Medications approved for treatment of OCD

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