Even though OCD cannot be completely cured, bringing the symptoms of OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) under control is important so that they do not rule your daily life. This could even mean a life time treatment for some people. There are two ways for OCD treatment. One is by psychotherapy and the other is by medication. The most effective treatment generally includes a combination of both. In severe cases surgical treatment can offer relief.
Let’s take a look at both the types of OCD treatments:
Exposure and response prevention (ERP) is the most common and the most effective psychotherapy available for OCD. During the course of this treatment, the patient is gradually and consistently exposed to the feared object or obsession. The patient is also taught of healthy ways of coping with it. For example if a patient is obsessed with washing hands due to dirt, he is taught of healthy ways of dealing with it rather than obsessing about dirt and compulsively washing hands. This type of psychotherapy takes a lot of time and requires a lot of patience to help a patient manage his obsessions and compulsions and live a quality life.
Medications are also an effective way of treating OCD. Most commonly, antidepressants are prescribed for treatment. It is a common practice to try out a few medications before finalizing the one that works most effectively to reduce the symptoms of OCD. Antidepressants and antipsychotics can be used in combination too. The aim of using medication is to control the symptoms with the lowest possible dosage. However, medication has some side effects and risks. Antidepressants and other psychiatric medications are known to have other effects such as stomach upset and sleep disturbance. Monitor your side effects and talk to your doctor accordingly. It is also a known fact that patients develop a suicidal tendency or suicidal thoughts. Talk to your doctor and check how your dose can be changed. Also, ensure that you tell your doctor about other medications that you take such as vitamins, minerals and any other herbal medicines.
Sometimes psychotherapy and medications are just not enough. In such cases we consider the patient for deep brain stimulation or lesional surgery. DBS has been tried for last 8-10 years and the lesional surgeries have been practiced for more than 50 years. Surgery does require special expertise and multi-disciplinary team. We have experience of performing DBS and lesional surgeries in several patients and their experience can be read on www.neurologicalsurgery.in
OCD is a chronic condition. This means that it’s going to be there with you – life long. You can however make an effort to reduce the symptoms and live a near to normal life. It is hence advised to take all your medications regularly as prescribed by your doctor. Do not stop medication as soon as you see an improvement in the symptoms. It will just worsen the condition. Your doctor will tell you if there is any change in the dosage. Talk to your doctor about all the incidences that trigger your obsessive and compulsive behavior. Also decide how you will cope with them. Another important thing to remember is to check with your doctor before you take any other medicine for any other condition or ailment. It’s always a good idea to check it first!