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How is OCD Treated?

Learn about obsessive compulsive disorder treatment from psychiatrist Ankur Saraiya in this Howcast video.


There are two basic modalities that are used to treat OCD: there are medications and there are behavioral therapies. Medications are used to target the anxiety, which is thought to underly the symptoms of OCD. So, by using medications to reduce an individual's level of anxiety, it's thought that the pressure that they feel to engage in their compulsions can be reduced, and they'll have an easier time controlling their compulsions, and they'll have less intrusive obsessions or thoughts that interfere with their day to day functioning. Then there's the arena of behavioral treatment, and these are therapies that are taught to an individual, with work, with a therapist who has experience working with OCD, and the behavioral therapies are used mainly to help individuals manage their compulsions, the behaviors that they feel forced to engage in, that can be very disruptive to their functioning and their everyday lives. So, through working with the behavioral therapist, the individual can understand and use various techniques to help control, reduce, and ideally, eliminate their symptoms so that they can function better. The best treatment for OCD involves a combination of both behavioral treatment and medications because the illness, otherwise, will generally overwhelm one treatment or the other. In other words, if you just limit yourself to one treatment, the amount of improvement is limited. You're going to be able to maximize the improvement if you're working with a behavioral therapist, and at the same time, with a psychiatrist to help manage medications, because a two-pronged approach is definitely the best way to treat OCD.

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