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Treatments for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

If left untreated, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) can seriously affect your daily functioning, relationships, success in school, ability to work, and mental health. OCD is usually treated with a combination of behavioral therapy (counseling) and medications. Behavioral therapy can help you gradually confront feared objects or ideas, either directly or by imagination. Medications are used to treat the obsessions, anxiety, depression, distress, and other associated disorders.

Psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, and specially trained primary care providers are trained to treat OCD. If your doctor doesn't have special training, ask for the name of a doctor or counselor who does.

Treatment involves the following:

MedicationsOther treatments—therapy

Surgical procedures or deep brain stimulation are recommended only for extreme cases of very severe, treatment resistant OCD.

Revision Information

  • About OCD. International OCD Foundation website. Available at: https://iocdf.org/about-ocd. Accessed January 13, 2017.

  • Dougherty D, Baer L, Cosgrove GR, et al. Prospective long-term follow-up of 44 patients who received cingulotomy for treatment—refractory OCD. Am J Psychiatry. 2002;159(2):69-275.

  • Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T114503/Obsessive-compulsive-disorder-OCD. Updated June 13, 2016. Accessed January 13, 2017.

  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). National Institute of Mental Health website. Available at: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/obsessive-compulsive-disorder-ocd/index.shtml. Updated January 2016. Accessed January 13, 2017.

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