Treatments of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is one of the more difficult anxiety disorders to treat. To date only two approaches have shown consistent success as treatments of OCD –
(1) Drug Treatment that affects neurotransmitter serotonin
(2) Psychological Treatment – Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Drug Therapy –
Drugs like Prozac, Zoloft etc. that inhibits the reuptake of serotonin have yielded good results but they produce clear improvement in only 50 – 75% of OCD patients and symptoms return quickly after discontinuation of the drugs and notable side effects like nausea, fatigue, loss of sexual desire are produced.
Psychological Treatment –
Behavioral Treatments for OCD are only psychological treatments consistently shown to reduce OCD symptoms. These procedures are sometimes combined with drug treatments are based on the principle of extinction described for treating phobias. Two treatment components that are usually combined are –
- Exposure to the stimulus that elicits obsessive ruminations and anxiety.
- Response Prevention in which the person is kept from performing an anxiety reducing ritual.
Exposure and Response Prevention can be effective treatments whether administered to individuals or groups and when direct exposure is not possible imagined exposure can be substituted.