OCD is a mental health disorder characterized by intrusive, unwanted thoughts (obsessions) and repetitive behaviors (compulsions) that the person feels compelled to do to try to alleviate the anxiety caused by the obsessions. OCD affects about 1 in 100 adults (according to the International OCD Foundation), and while it can develop at any age, it typically begins in adolescence or young adulthood.
OCD can be a debilitating condition that interferes with a person’s ability to function in day-to-day life. Left untreated, OCD can lead to significant distress and impairment. In some cases, OCD can even be life-threatening if the person engages in compulsions that put them in danger (e.g., excessive hand-washing leading to skin breakdown). Therefore, it is important to seek treatment for OCD if you think you may have the disorder.
There are two main types of OCD medication: serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs). SSRIs increase serotonin levels in the brain, which helps reduce anxiety and improve mood. SNRIs work similarly but also increase levels of norepinephrine, another neurotransmitter that plays a role in mood regulation. Some common SSRIs used to treat OCD include fluoxetine (Prozac), sertraline (Zoloft), and paroxetine (Paxil). Some common SNRIs used to treat OCD include venlafaxine (Effexor) and duloxetine (Cymbalta).
It is important to note that while medication can be an effective treatment for OCD, it is not a cure. In most cases, people with OCD need to continue taking long-term medication to control their symptoms. In addition, some people may need to take a higher dose of medication over time as their body becomes tolerant to the drug. It is also important to keep up with other forms of treatment, such as therapy or support groups, even while taking medication, as this can help you better manage your symptoms overall.
SSRI’s most common side effects include nausea, headache, dry mouth, fatigue, insomnia, and sexual dysfunction. Some people may also experience weight gain or loss when taking these medications. It is important to talk to your doctor about any side effects you may experience while taking OCD medication so they can adjust your dose or switch you to a different drug if necessary.
Let’s briefly consider various types of OCD medications and the possible side effects you may experience:
- Fluoxetine (Prozac) is an SSRI that is typically prescribed for OCD. It is effective in treating the obsessions and compulsions of OCD but can cause side effects such as nausea, headache, dry mouth, fatigue, insomnia, and sexual dysfunction.
- Sertraline (Zoloft) is an SSRI commonly used to treat OCD. It works by increasing serotonin levels in the brain, which helps reduce anxiety and improve mood. Side effects of sertraline include nausea, diarrhea, constipation, headache, dry mouth, drowsiness, insomnia, and sexual dysfunction.
- Paroxetine (Paxil) is an SSRI that the FDA approves for treating OCD in children and adolescents. Side effects of paroxetine include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headache, agitation, anxiety, insomnia, sweating, tremors, drowsiness, and sexual dysfunction.
- Venlafaxine (Effexor) is an SNRI commonly used to treat OCD. It works by increasing levels of both serotonin and norepinephrine in the brain, which helps to improve mood and reduce anxiety. Side effects of venlafaxine include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, decreased appetite, weight loss, dry mouth, sweating, dizziness, tremors, agitation, anxiety, insomnia, sexual dysfunction, fatigue, and drowsiness.
Now let’s address some common questions about buying OCD medication:
Q: Where can I buy medication for OCD?
A: You can only buy medications for OCD through licensed medical practitioners such as psychiatrists or psychologists who can prescribe them. If you think you might have OCD, schedule an appointment with a mental health professional so they can assess your symptoms and make a correct diagnosis. If they determine you would benefit from medication, they will prescribe it.
Q: Is it safe to buy OCD medication online?
A: No, buying OCD medications online without a prescription from a licensed medical practitioner is not safe. Many websites claim to sell “safe” or “herbal” treatments for mental disorders like OCD, but there is no evidence that these treatments are effective. Some of these substances may be harmful if taken without medical supervision. The only way to ensure you’re getting an FDA-approved medication for your condition is to get it through a prescription from a licensed medical practitioner.
Q: How can I be sure that the medication I am buying from an online pharmacy or practitioner is safe and reputable?
A: The best way to ensure that the online pharmacy or practitioner you use is reputable is to check if your state’s Board of Pharmacy licenses them. You should also check whether the website requires a prescription before allowing customers to purchase any medications. If the site does not require a prescription and sells controlled substances or other drugs that may be harmful without medical supervision, then it is not a reputable source.
Finally, you can also check with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) to see if there are any complaints about the online pharmacy or practitioner you are considering using.
What are the alternatives to OCD medication?
Let’s briefly discuss VNS, DBS, Deep TMS™, CBT, and ERP.
VNS: Vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) is a surgical treatment that involves implanting a device that sends electrical pulses to the vagus nerve. This treatment effectively reduces OCD symptoms in some people, but it is not right for everyone.
DBS: Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is another surgical treatment option for OCD. In this procedure, electrodes are implanted into specific brain areas and connected to a device that sends electrical pulses. DBS effectively reduces OCD symptoms in some people. This treatment is not without risk, and is not recommended for all patients.
Deep TMS: Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) is a non-invasive treatment that uses magnetic fields to stimulate and regulate neural activity in the brain. Deep TMS is an advancedform of TMS that has been shown to be more effective in treating OCD than traditional TMS (which uses a figure-8 coil). This technology uses a patented H-Coil to target deeper into the brain to stimulate neural activity and achieve successful outcomes. This FDA-cleared treatment for OCD is a leading, non-invasive, non-surgical alternative. OCD treatment centers can use it with other therapies like CBT, ERP, and medication.
CBT: Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of talk therapy that can help you learn how to manage your OCD symptoms by changing how you think about and respond to them. Therapists can do CBT with or without medication, which is often recommended as the first line of treatment for OCD.
ERP: Exposure and response prevention (ERP) therapy is a CBT designed to treat OCD. In ERP therapy, you work with a therapist to gradually expose yourself to your fear triggers while learning healthy coping mechanisms so you can resist engaging in compulsive behaviors.