Tuesday, October 25, 2011

OCD Awareness: {Medication}

OCD is best treated through a combination of therapy (such as ERP) and medication. Because OCD is a biological disorder, medication tends to do fairly well in helping to treat it.  Just a small sidenote: It's important to not just take medication, but to use it in conjunction with treatment for best results.

When an individual has OCD, there is a lack of serotonin, which is a neurotransmitter in the brain. Medications used in the treatment of OCD help increase levels of serotonin, and are called Selective Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitors (SSRIs). In each of our brains, we have an area called the synapse between neurons in the brain. Neurotransmitters (the brain's chemicals) are sent from one neuron, through the synapse, to the next neuron. SSRIs serve to inhibit the re-uptake of serotonin from the synapse. Are you confused yet? Because of this chemical process which occurs in the brain, medication can be a helpful part of treatment.

There are certain drugs which have been found to be helpful for the treatment of OCD. The OCD Foundation lists the following medications (source, p. 10):

  • Fluvoxamine (Luvox)
  • Sertraline (Zoloft)
  • Citalopram (Celexa)
  • Escitalopram (Lexapro)
  • Fluoxetine (Prozac)
  • Paroxetine (Paxil)
  • Clomipramine (Anafranil)
  • Venlafaxine (Effexor)

It's important to remember since this medication is used to help correct a chemical problem, it takes a number of weeks for medication to reach its full capacity to work. While some people notice changes within a few weeks, it will probably take a couple of months for it to work completely. Please be patient!  People experience side effects in different ways. Learn the side effects! Remember that a side effect of the medication may be less intrusive on your life then the obsessions and compulsions, and the results of these things, on your life.

Here are other posts in this series:

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