Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) which mainly affects our normal daily routines due to the repetitive and often destructive line of thoughts and actions are being taken for granted by many people. Though there are rare cases where people seek treatment for OCD, the condition should not be ignored because not only does it affect the individual sufferer, but it also affects the entire community as a whole – whether you are aware of it or not. So, let’s learn how to treat OCD on your own.
People with OCD often give more time and effort to ease their anxieties and relieve their fears by doing their personal “rituals” even if they are not necessary. The time that they should be spending to be better members of our community is therefore spent in dealing with unrealistic means of decreasing false anxiety and due to unreasonable fears.
Thus, it is critical for people with obsessive-compulsive disorders to seek treatment to help them ease symptoms and become more productive in their daily lives.
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How To Treat OCD?
OCD treatment may not always result in a cure. However, it can go a long way in decreasing and controlling symptoms so that they will no longer affect our daily lives. Some OCD sufferers may need lifetime treatment to keep the disorder in control.
A person with the obsessive-compulsive disorder may choose between two main treatments: medication and psychotherapy. Though you can choose the one that best suits your needs, a combination of the two is often found to be more effective in dealing with OCD symptoms.
Psychiatric medications are a help in controlling obsessions and compulsions among patients. Usually, antidepressants are used first to treat the symptoms before proceeding to another line of medication if antidepressants do not work.
It is important that the antidepressant you take is prescribed by a health care professional and is approved by the
Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as drugs for OCD treatment. Usual medications that may be prescribed are:
- Sertraline for children 6 years and older, and for adults
- Fluoxetine for children 7 years and older, and for adults
- Fluvoxamine for children 8 years and older, and for adults
- Clomipramine for children 10 years and older, and for adults
- Paroxetine for adults only
There are occasions when your doctor will prescribe other antidepressants such as escitalopram (Cipralex) or citalopram (Celexa), and other psychiatric medications as well depending on the need. If you are given medication to treat your OCD behavior, it is important to discuss these things with your attending physician:
The goal of drugs is to control your OCD symptoms in the lowest possible dose. Do not be surprised if your doctor prescribes several drugs before settling for one that finally works. Also, do not expect that the medication you have taken will improve your condition all of a sudden. Usually, it takes weeks and even months for noticeable improvements in your symptoms.
Medication Side Effects
All medications have side effects. It is important to ask your doctor about the side effects of the medication that you are prescribed so that you know what to expect. It is also important that you monitor your health while taking such psychiatric drugs and never hesitate to tell your doctor if you have some side effects that make you feel uncomfortable.
Do not stop your antidepressant drugs without your doctor’s advice. Antidepressants may result in physical dependence, and stopping the medication suddenly may lead to withdrawal symptoms. If you want to stop taking the drug, have a talk with your doctor about it and work with him to gradually decrease the dose until it is safe to discontinue it totally.
Surprisingly, taking antidepressants may trigger suicidal tendencies and behavior. Though most antidepressants are considered safe, people under the age of 25 including children, teens, and young adults, have an increased risk especially during the first few weeks after the medication is given or when the dosage has been changed. Should there be any suicidal tendencies, contact your doctor immediately and get help at the earliest.
Antidepressants may interact with other substances. Thus, it is important to tell your doctor about the medications, supplements, and herbs that you may be taking. Dangerous reactions might occur if you forget to tell your doctor about the medication you are already under.
A type of psychotherapy that is usually used for the treatment of the obsessive-compulsive disorder is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT is often found to be effective with many OCD sufferers. The Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP), which is a type of CBT, is the most common method used.
During sessions, the person with OCD will be exposed gradually to the feared object or obsession like dirt. In return, he will develop certain ways to cope up with this fear and obsession healthily. Through ERP, OCD patients may realize that their fears and anxieties are unrealistic and are something that should not cause worry at all.
This therapy requires effort and practice. Since you already made a habit out of your obsession and compulsion, it takes quite a lot of time to break from something that you are already accustomed to. Hence, patience is a must for this treatment.
3. Other Treatments
Since there is no definitive cure for OCD, the usual mode of treatment stated above may not work at all. Treatment-resistant OCD is very unlikely to respond to any course of treatment. However, some other methods of treatment such as psychosurgery are underway to help treat patients who are unresponsive to medications and psychotherapy.
The International OCD Foundation listed four types of brain surgery that have conclusively been proven to treat OCD cases. These surgeries are the following:
- Anterior Cingulotomy. The skull will be drilled, and the anterior cingulated cortex of the brain will be burned using a heated probe.
- Anterior Capsulotomy. The procedure is similar to the anterior cingulotomy, but the operation will be done at the anterior limb of the internal capsule.
- Gamma Knife. It is not an invasive procedure because the skull is not opened. Instead, there will be gamma ray doses which will penetrate the skull and create an energy level that is enough to destroy the targeted brain tissue.
- Deep Brain Stimulation. The skull will be opened, and electrodes are strategically placed inside the brain and wired to a pulse generator. The generator will send pulses to the brain and is similar to the function of the pacemaker in the heart.