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Do OCD Medications Work?

Friday, 25 Mar 2011 12:26 PM

Obsessive compulsive disorder can be a debilitating illness for some people. It is considered a disability for certain individuals because it affects whether they can work or function in society. Most commonly, OCD is treated through various cognitive and behavioral therapies which are used in conjunction with certain medications.

Most of the prescription drugs used to treat OCD are within the antidepressant category. This is because depression commonly develops due to OCD. Not all antidepressants work for OCD. The five most common antidepressants that have proven effective for treating OCD include Paxil, Zoloft, Luvox, Prozac, and Celexa.

Antidepressants that work to treat OCD control imbalances in serotonin levels. Serotonin is a chemical that is naturally produced by the brain. These medications are also called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) which inhibit the production of serotonin. SSRIs have been proven to be the most effective for OCD and are the most prescribed for this disorder.

As with most prescription drugs, SSRIs do have side effects. Some of the most common of which include sleep problems, insomnia, dry mouth, nausea, headaches, drowsiness, and constipation. Less common side effects can include sexual dysfunction in both men and women. In rare cases, SSRIs can amplify depression and cause suicidal thoughts in some individuals.

Currently, there are no known side effects that are not irreversible by discontinuing medication. Factors beyond side effects that might keep an individual from being able to take OCD medications can include sensitivity to the drugs and women that are pregnant or nursing.

The only way to know for sure if you have OCD and need therapy and/or medication for your condition is to see a doctor. Psychotherapists can give you a proper diagnosis and design a treatment plan that should work best for you. It is very important to seek help so your symptoms do not worsen.

If you have a child that exhibits OCD signs you should make an appointment as soon as possible. The sooner OCD is diagnosed, the more effective treatment can be and the easier it is to treat.

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