Is OCD Treatable?

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a challenging diagnosis and can be extremely debilitating. If you’ve recently been diagnosed with OCD, you may be wondering what your long-term outlook will be. 

You may have heard that OCD is a lifelong condition. However, there are a number of treatments available that can make your condition manageable and help you get your symptoms under control. Though OCD is not curable, it doesn’t have to rule your life.

Here at LiveWell TMS in Huntington, New York, Dr. Nina Greif offers transcranial magnetic stimulation to help patients who have struggled to manage their OCD with other treatments. Here’s what you need to know about this condition. 

What is OCD?

Obsessive-compulsive disorder, more commonly known as OCD, is a common mental health condition affecting nearly 2 million Americans or 1% of the population. Most people are diagnosed around early adulthood, but some people first report symptoms in childhood. 

Despite being a relatively common mental health condition, many people still misunderstood the condition due to media depictions of being meticulous or obsessively clean. While some people experience similar OCD symptoms, there are a range of ways OCD can manifest. Generally, OCD symptoms fall into the categories of obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors.

Obsessive thoughts

Stereotypical depictions of OCD usually depict characters who are obsessed with cleanliness and order, which is one of the reasons people sometimes use the term ‘OCD’ to mean tidy and neat. In reality, obsessive thoughts can be about nearly anything, including:

Often, people with OCD feel like the only way to cope with their obsessive thoughts is to do certain activities, known as compulsive behaviors. However, some OCD sufferers only suffer from obsessive thoughts, in a type of OCD known as purely obsessional OCD.

Compulsive behaviors

Most people with OCD also suffer from compulsive behaviors in addition to obsessive thoughts. Generally, people with OCD get temporary relief from their obsessive thoughts by enacting certain compulsive behaviors, including: 

Is OCD treatable? 

OCD can be a complex, long-term, and debilitating condition. While there is no cure, there are safe and effective treatments available that can help over 50% improve with treatment. Treatments generally include a combination of the following: 

Therapy

Psychotherapy is one of the primary methods of treatment for OCD. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a treatment that helps people with OCD understand the cycles between their obsessive thoughts and their compulsive behaviors. Exposure therapy is a treatment that helps people with OCD through gradual exposure to a feared object or obsession. 

Medication

Certain types of psychiatric medications including antidepressants can help regulate OCD symptoms by balancing out certain neurotransmitters. Around 40-60% of patients with OCD experience a reduction in symptoms with antidepressants, but this may cause unpleasant side effects or require lifetime medication. 

TMS 

Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) offers relief to people with OCD, especially if they have not responded to therapy and medication. In fact, some studies suggest TMS might even be superior to traditional treatments in reducing OCD symptoms. 

TMS works by using gentle magnetic pulses that improve your neural patterns and balance your neurotransmitters. Whether you’ve been recently diagnosed with OCD or have struggled to find relief with traditional treatments, TMS may be able to help you. To find out more, call Livewell TMS at 631-228-7674 or request an appointment online.

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