Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) - Topic Overview
Your doctor can check for
obsessive-compulsive disorder by asking about your symptoms and your past
health. He or she may also do a physical exam. It's important to talk to your
doctor if you think you have OCD. Many people with the disorder go without
treatment, because they are afraid or embarrassed to talk to a doctor.
How is it treated?
Treatment includes medicines
and counseling. Using both often works best.
medicines called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are most
commonly used. Examples of these medicines include Prozac and Zoloft. You may
begin to feel better in about 1 to 3 weeks after you start taking medicine. But
it can take as long as 12 weeks to see more improvement. If you have concerns
about your medicine, or if you do not start to feel better by 3 weeks, talk to
your doctor. He or she may increase the dose or change to a different medicine.
Counseling for the disorder includes a type of
cognitive-behavioral therapy called exposure and
response prevention. This therapy slowly increases your contact with the thing
that causes worries or false beliefs. For example, if you were worried about
getting germs from things you touch, you would touch an object you believe has
germs and then not wash your hands afterward. You would keep doing that until
you could do it without feeling anxious. This can be hard at first. But with
the help of a counselor, this therapy can reduce your symptoms over
Other cognitive therapy may also help change the false
beliefs that lead to OCD behaviors.
Treatment can make your
symptoms less severe. But you may still have some mild symptoms after you begin
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