Important Facts About OCD
People with OCD may be plagued by persistent, unwelcome thoughts or images, or by the urgent need to engage in certain rituals. They may be obsessed with germs or dirt, and wash their hands over and over. They may be filled with doubt and feel the need to check things repeatedly.
(Click Symptoms of OCD for more information.)
OCD treatments combine medications and behavioral therapy (a specific type of psychotherapy). Several medications have been proven effective in helping people with OCD, including:
- Anafranil® (clomipramine)
- Prozac® (fluoxetine)
- Luvox® (fluvoxamine)
- Zoloft® (sertraline)
- Paxil® (paroxetine).
If one drug is not effective, others should be tried. A number of other medications are currently being studied.
A type of behavioral therapy known as "exposure and response prevention" is useful for treating OCD. In this approach, a person is deliberately and voluntarily exposed to whatever triggers the obsessive thoughts, and then is taught techniques to avoid performing the compulsive rituals and to deal with the anxiety.
(Click OCD Treatment for more information.)
OCD is sometimes accompanied by:
- Eating disorders
- Substance abuse
- Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
- Other anxiety disorders.
When a person also has other disorders, OCD is often more difficult to diagnose and treat.
Symptoms of OCD can also coexist with, and may even be part of, a spectrum of other brain disorders, such as Tourette's syndrome. Appropriate diagnosis and treatment of other disorders are important to successful treatment of OCD.