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What is OCD--Treatments? Part II

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Although OCD is a combination of other mental disorders, I am always amazed that there are drugs used to treat OCD. Read on so that we can discuss how OCD affects you and your family at 'Obsessive Compulsive Disorder'

"Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder in which an individual suffers from unwanted repetitive thoughts and behaviors. These obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors are extremely difficult to overcome. If severe and untreated, OCD can destroy the ability to function at work, at school, or at home.

Frontal Lobe
This part of the brain is believed to be the area of impulse control. People with OCD may have chemical imbalances in the brain that affect this area.
Copyright © 2005 Nucleus Communications, Inc. All rights reserved.

The cause of OCD is not known. It is believed to develop from neurobiological, environmental, and psychological factors. An imbalance of the brain chemical serotonin probably plays a significant role in the development of OCD.
OCD is associated with other neurological disorders, including:
• Tourette syndrome
• Trichotillomania—the repeated urge to pull out scalp hair, eyelashes, eyebrows, or other body hair
• Body dysmorphic disorder—imaginary or exaggerated defects in appearance
• Eating disorders, such as bulimia or anorexia nervosa
• Hypochondriasis—unfounded fear of having a serious disease
• Substance abuse

Risk Factors
A risk factor is something that increases your chance of getting a disease or condition. Risk factors for OCD include:
• Age: late adolescence, early adulthood
• Family members with a history of OCD
• Other anxiety disorders
• Depression
• Tourette syndrome
• Personality disorder
• Attention deficit disorder

Symptoms of OCD are:
• Obsessions—unwanted, repetitive and intrusive ideas, impulses or images
• Compulsions—repetitive behaviors or mental acts usually performed to reduce the distress associated with obsessions
Although people with OCD know that their thoughts and behaviors are nonsensical and would like to avoid or stop them, they are frequently unable to block their obsessive thoughts or avoid acting on their compulsions.

Common obsessions include:
• Persistent fears that harm may come to self or a loved one
• Unreasonable concern with being contaminated
• Unacceptable religious, violent, or sexual thoughts
• Excessive need to do things correctly or perfectly

Common compulsions include:
• Excessive checking of door locks, stoves, water faucets, light switches, etc.
• Repeatedly making lists, counting, arranging, or aligning things
• Collecting and hoarding useless objects
• Repeating routine actions a certain number of times until it feels just right
• Unnecessary rereading and rewriting
• Mentally repeating phrases
• Repeatedly washing hands

OCD is usually diagnosed through a psychiatric assessment. OCD is often diagnosed when obsessions and/or compulsions cause an individual significant distress or interfere with the individual’s ability to properly perform at work, school, or in relationships.

Treatment reduces OCD thoughts and behaviors, but does not completely eliminate them.
Treatments include:
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) reduce OCD symptoms by affecting the neurotransmitter serotonin. This function is independent of their antidepressant effects. Common SSRIs include:
• Fluoxetine (Prozac)
• Fluvoxamine (Luvox)
• Paroxetine (Paxil)
• Sertraline (Zoloft)

Please Note: On March 22, 2004, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a Public Health Advisory that cautions physicians, patients, families, and caregivers of patients with depression to closely monitor both adults and children receiving certain antidepressant medications. The FDA is concerned about the possibility of worsening depression and/or the emergence of suicidal thoughts, especially among children and adolescents at the beginning of treatment, or when there’s an increase or decrease in the dose. The medications of concern, mostly SSRIs (Selective Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitors), are: Prozac (fluoxetine), Zoloft (sertraline), Paxil (paroxetine), Luvox (fluvoxamine), Celexa (citalopram), Lexapro (escitalopram), Wellbutrin (bupropion), Effexor (venlafaxine), Serzone (nefazodone), and Remeron (mirtazapine). Of these, only Prozac (fluoxetine) is approved for use in children and adolescents for the treatment of major depressive disorder. Prozac (fluoxetine), Zoloft (sertraline), and Luvox (fluvoxamine) are approved for use in children and adolescents for the treatment of obsessive compulsive disorder. For more information, please visit

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
Another medication often used is clomipramine (Anafranil). This is a tricyclic antidepressant drug that alters serotonin levels.
Behavior Therapy (Exposure and Response Prevention)
This helps you gradually confront the feared object or obsession without succumbing to the compulsive ritual associated with it.

There are no guidelines for preventing OCD because the cause is not known. However, early intervention may provide help before the disorder becomes severely disruptive.

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
DISCLAIMER: This information is intended for educational purposes. EBSCO is in no way liable for the use of this information and makes no warranty or guarantee as to its accuracy."

Join us at Obsessive Compulsive Disorder to discuss how OCD affects you and those around you.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Thank you for posting this information. I am still learning and hope to discover new coping mechanisms that do not interfere with normal life.
    1754 days ago
  • KERRYG155
    Sounds like some serious drugs there. Hope it's something I never have to deal with.
    1798 days ago
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