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Obsessive Compulsive Disorder: Current Treatments

Optimal Doses of OCD Drugs

Ready to give up on your OCD meds? Before you switch, you should make sure that you have tried the optimal dose for three months.

  • Fluoxetine (Prozac): 60 mg
  • Setraline (Zoloft): 200 mg
  • Paroxetine (Paxil): 60 mg
  • Paroxetine (Paxil CR): 75 mg
  • Fluvoxamine (Luvox): 250 mg
  • Citalopram (Celexa): 60 mg
  • Escitalopram (Lexipro): 30 mg
  • Clomipramine (Anafranil): 225 mg

If none of these have worked, ask your psychiatrist about trying an atypical antipsychotic augmenter in conjunction with your antidepressant.

There are many effective treatments for obsessive-compulsive disorder, including medication and therapy. The type of treatment you select may vary by the severity of your OCD, the recommendation of your clinician, and what type of treatment makes you feel the most comfortable.

Medication for OCD

OCD is sometimes thought of as a brain chemical imbalance, thus the disorder responds to medications that correct that imbalance. Twenty years ago, people would go to their doctor with OCD and depression and the doctor would prescribe an antidepressant for the depression, but there was nothing to relieve the OCD. However, it was observed that people who were prescribed the antidepressant Clomipramine, also noticed some relief of their OCD symptoms. Clomipramine works by affecting brain serotonin. Serotonin is a chemical 'messenger' in the brain -- a neurotransmitter. This led to the now widely accepted theory that OCD is caused at least partly by some abnormality in serotonin function.

The most common medications include the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Fluoxetine (Prozac), paroxetine (Paxil), sertraline (Zoloft), and fluvoxamine (Luvox) have been proven effective and are the most frequently used medications for OCD. Other medications are sometimes added on to these to boost their effect. More about medications for OCD...

Therapy for OCD

OCD is most effectively treated with a combination of medication and behavior therapy. Behavior therapy helps patients change their behavior rather than help them understand why they act the way they do, which was the aim or more traditional "insight-oriented" or psychodynamic therapies. Behavior therapy is rooted in the principles of positive and negative reinforcement to encourage patients to act in a healthier way. For OCD and other anxiety disorders, patients tackle their fears directly and learn to practice experiencing their anxieties in a controlled setting. Eventually they are able to face their most feared situations. More about therapy for OCD...

Surgery for OCD

In rare cases, when none of the medications are effective and a complete and adequate trial of behavior therapy has been unsuccessful, neurosurgical treatment can be considered. Two types of surgery that have been found to be effective are: Anterior Cingulotomy and Capsulotomy. The need for surgery is extremely rare, but the outcome can be very successful. More about brain surgery for OCD...

Where to Start

The best treatment for your OCD may depend the severity and access to resources in your area. Continue on to our page on Getting Help for OCD to help guide you, or see BrainPhysics treatments for more in-depth information.



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Disclaimer: This information should not be considered medical advice and should not substitute the judgment of a competent psychiatrist.


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