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Mental Health Center

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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.

Treatment includes medicines and counseling. Using both tends to works best.

Antidepressant 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. With the help of a counselor, this therapy can reduce your symptoms over time.

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 treatment.

Learning about obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD):

Being diagnosed:

Getting treatment:

Ongoing concerns:

Living with obsessive-compulsive disorder:

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: November 14, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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