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Obsessive Compulsive Disorder


Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder that causes obsessions and compulsions. An obsession is an unwanted thought that stays in your mind most of the time. You cannot stop or control this thought. A compulsion is something you do and cannot stop doing because of the obsessive thought. You may become very anxious if you try to stop the compulsion.


Seek care immediately if:

  • You think about harming yourself or someone else.

Call your doctor or therapist if:

  • You are not able to sleep well or are sleeping more than usual.
  • You cannot eat or are eating more than usual.
  • You cannot make it to your next appointment.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.


  • Medicines , such as antidepressants, may be given to treat the symptoms of OCD. You may need to take this medicine for several weeks before you begin to feel better.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him or her if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Medicine monitoring:

Each time you meet with your healthcare providers, they will ask you about how you are feeling. Healthcare providers will watch how you respond to your medicines. Tell healthcare providers about any side effects or problems you have with your medicine. Sometimes the type or amount of medicine may need to be changed.


Therapy may be used to treat your OCD. A therapist will help you learn to cope with your thoughts and feelings. This can be done alone or in a group. It may also be done with family members or a significant other.

Manage OCD:

  • Limit or do not drink alcohol. Alcohol can increase anxiety and depression. Alcohol can also make it harder to sleep well. If you choose to drink, ask your healthcare provider how much alcohol is okay for you to drink. A drink of alcohol is 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1½ ounces of liquor.
  • Get regular physical activity. Exercise can help decrease stress and anxiety. Talk to your healthcare provider before you start to exercise. Together you can plan the best exercise plan for you.
    Walking for Exercise
  • Get regular sleep. Try to sleep 6 to 8 hours each night. Sleep can help lower stress.

Follow up with your doctor or therapist as directed:

Healthcare providers will monitor your progress at follow-up visits. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.