Intrusive thoughts are frequently treated with a mix of medication and talk therapy. Serotonin reuptake inhibitors, for example, are OCD medications that assist control serotonin levels and can help minimize intrusive thoughts. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are the most common type of medication used to treat obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Other types of medication used include tricyclic antidepressants and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors.
It is important to remember that like any other drug, these medications can cause side effects. Common side effects associated with SSRI use include nausea, diarrhea, irritability, and anxiety. People who take benzodiazepines or alcohol while taking an SSRI may experience an increased risk of feeling dizzy or sleepy.
If you are taking OCD medications, it is important to tell your doctor if you start experiencing suicidal thoughts or feelings. You should also notify your doctor if the symptoms of OCD worsen while on treatment or if you experience any changes in mood or behavior. Your doctor may need to adjust your dose or switch you to another medication.
In addition, like any other form of treatment for OCD, psychotherapy is more effective if combined with medication.
We can't get rid of intrusive thoughts with our existing medical understanding. As a result, we can't get rid of OCD since if those intrusive thoughts are present, your OCD will react to them every now and then. However, current research is looking into gene therapy, which may one day allow for the treatment of OCD.
Antidepressants with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) aid with OCD by preventing serotonin absorption in the brain, which maintains levels in the body higher. Some OCD sufferers feel that medication helps them, while others find that it worsens their compulsive thinking. Research shows that fluoxetine (Prozac), sertraline (Zoloft), and paroxetine (Paxil) may be more effective than placebo in reducing obsessive-compulsive symptoms.
Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) work by blocking both serotonin and norepinephrine receptors, which can have additional benefits for those who suffer from anxiety as well as OCD symptoms. Examples of TCAs include amitriptyline (Nytrip), clomipramine (ClomiPril), and imipramine (Tofranil).
Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) block an enzyme called monoamine oxidase, which is responsible for breaking down serotonin and other neurotransmitters in the brain. Because excessive amounts of serotonin are thought to play a role in causing OCD, this drug class is also used to treat related disorders such as panic disorder and depression. Examples of MAOIs include phenelzine (Nortriptyline), tranylcypromine (Parnate).
Regular exercise is essential. Exercise is a natural and efficient anti-anxiety treatment that aids in the management of OCD symptoms by retraining your attention when obsessive thoughts and compulsions develop. Try to obtain 30 minutes or more of aerobic activity on most days for greatest effect. Muscle tension can contribute to anxiety, so work out those muscles!
Challenging your obsessions requires being aware of them and not letting them control your life. When you notice yourself thinking about an obsession, ask yourself these questions: Is this thought helping me get better? Would doing something about this thought actually make it happen? If not, then why are you thinking about it?
If you realize you're thinking about your obsession as soon as you catch yourself, call up one of your coping strategies before you give in to your instinctive desire to act on it. This will help prevent you from doing anything about it - which is exactly what you want to avoid.
So, how do you challenge OCD thoughts? You think them over carefully, put them into perspective, and then you replace them with positive ideas. You should never reject an idea out of hand; instead, let it sit for a while and then let it go. It may be helpful to keep in mind that your thoughts are simply information coming into your brain. They aren't truth values. There's no need to judge them as good or bad.
The mainstay of OCD treatment is cognitive-behavioral therapy in the form of ERP, as well as medication management (most commonly with serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SRIs). The initial treatment option is determined by the severity of the sickness. If the symptoms are mild to moderate, then counseling and behavioral techniques are used; if the symptoms are severe, then an SRI is prescribed by a physician.
ERP consists of four components: exposure and response prevention, cognitive therapy, psychotherapy, and pharmacological treatment. Exposure and response prevention involves systematically exposing oneself to potentially contaminating thoughts or behaviors and then using coping strategies to prevent themselves from acting on those thoughts or engaging in those behaviors. This process is repeated until the anxiety associated with OCD decreases enough for the person to function normally.
Cognitive therapy focuses on changing harmful beliefs about oneself and one's world that may be responsible for some of the anxiety associated with OCD. Once these negative thoughts come into your mind, you should challenge them by thinking of something that you do consistently that is not perfect. For example, if you believe that you must always be perfect in your work, then you should think of a time when you did not perform a task perfectly and then think of another time when you did not perform a task at all.
Serotonergic antidepressants, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and clomipramine, have long been used as first-line therapies for OCD. Medium to high doses and acute therapy for at least three months are advised until effectiveness is determined. If symptoms do not improve with antidepressant therapy, other options include cognitive behavioral therapy and electroconvulsive therapy.
The use of antipsychotics in the treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) has increased in recent years. The most commonly used agents are olanzapine and risperidone. Although there is some evidence that these drugs can help reduce obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors, more research is needed before any major conclusions can be drawn about their effectiveness for this purpose.
Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) is considered the "first-line" treatment for OCD. It involves learning different strategies to replace obsessive thinking patterns with alternative ways of responding to situations that cause discomfort or anxiety. Therapy typically lasts for several months and is often combined with medication or other treatments such as exposure and response prevention (ERP). Results from clinical trials indicate that approximately 80% of people who receive CBT remain symptom free one year after completion of treatment.
Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) uses a small electric current to induce a seizure in order to relieve severe obsessions or compulsions that will not go away with counseling or medications.