OCD Medication Choices

We all have that friend who we consider a “neat freak,” or who seems to worry far too much for their own good. There are a number of reasons people may possess these characteristics, but it is likely that these personality traits do not impede one’s ability to be an active participant in society. This is not the case for those with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD); fixation on cleanliness (or other things) and persistent worrying are so severe, that they cause significant disruption to the lives of those who live with OCD. Luckily, a variety of different medications have been developed, so that those with this mental disorder can gain control of OCD symptoms.

OCD Symptoms


  •      Fear of hurting oneself or others
  •      Fear of contamination (germs)
  •      Intrusive sexual and violent thoughts
  •      Religious/moral fixation
  •      Necessity for very specific order/symmetry
  •      Excessive superstition


  •      Excessive double-checking
  •      Repeatedly checking on loved ones
  •      Excessive praying
  •      Counting, tapping, or repeating words
  •      Excessive washing and cleaning
  •      Meticulously arranging items
  •      Hoarding seemingly useless items

OCD Medication


Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors

The most common types of OCD medication prescribed to those with the disorder are classified as antidepressants. There are a few different types of antidepressants, though selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are thought to be the most beneficial for treating signs of OCD. Serotonin reuptake inhibitors work by blocking the reabsorption of a neurotransmitter (chemical messenger in the brain) called serotonin. This neurotransmitter is responsible for feelings of wellbeing. Prozac, Zoloft, and Luvox are common SSRI medications that are administered as a treatment for OCD.

While all selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors have the same effect on brain chemicals, they differ in terms of the side effects, drug interactions, and the amount of time they remain in the body. In a study, those with OCD who took an SSRI showed a significantly decreased occurrence of relapse between the 24th and 52nd week of treatment than those who received a placebo, notes The National Center for Biotechnological Information. Additionally, 70% of people with OCD benefit from medication, and experience a 60-70% reduction of symptoms, says The International OCD Foundation.

OCD therapyAnxiolytics and Sedative


Benzodiazepines are known as anxiolytic sedatives, as they enhance the actions of the neurotransmitter GABA, which slows down areas of the brain that produce anxiety, helps slow down racing thoughts, provides feelings of calmness, and acts as a muscle relaxer. Xanax is a widely known treatment for OCD, along with Valium and Klonopin. GABA also. The majority of benzodiazepines take effect in a matter of hours, and last for different amounts of time, depending on which type you are using to control your signs of OCD. Benzodiazepines are not recommended as a long-term OCD medication, as they can have serious negative side effects, and are physically and psychologically addictive.


Buspirone is an anxiolytic mild tranquilizer that works by activating serotonin activity in the brain. It is traditionally used to treat generalized anxiety disorder, but has been shown to be useful as a treatment for OCD, as well. It is particularly useful when used in combination with Prozac, specifically if you are not responding sufficiently to it (or another SSRI) on its own.

Sometimes, you may find that no OCD medication is helpful for alleviating your symptoms. If this is the case, there may be other options available. Deep magnetic transcranial stimulation (deep TMS) is one of these potential options. Deep TMS is a new technology that uses electromagnetic pulses delivered via a helmet filled with coils to stimulate areas of the brain that are involved in producing signs of OCD. Thus far, researchers have determined that this procedure is safe and well tolerated by the majority of people. In a study, those who received deep TMS treatment for OCD showed a symptom decrease of 28%, versus 5% for those who had a placebo treatment, says Medscape.

Obsessive-compulsive disorder is a disruptive condition that makes living a normal life difficult. There are multiple types of medications available to treat symptoms of OCD, each having different effects on the brain. Antidepressant, anxiolytics, and sedatives are common classes of medication used to alleviate OCD symptoms.

Westside Neurotherapeutics offers Deep TMS treatments for OCD in Los Angeles. For more information, contact them by phone at 310.946.0008 or email at info@westsideneurotherapeutics.com.

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