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General OCD Information

About Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Because of the numerous resources currently available online, the following information provides only a brief overview of the two components of OCD.


This aspect of the disorder focuses on recurrent or persistent thoughts, impulses, or images that are intrusive and inappropriate and consequently cause extreme distress and anxiety. These thoughts, impulses, or images are not simply worries about real-life problems. The person recognizes that the concerns are a product of his/her own mind and attempts to ignore, suppress, or neutralize them with various thoughts, actions, or responses known as compulsions.


This aspect of the disorder deals with the repetitive behaviors or mental acts that the person feels forced to perform in reaction to an obsession and in accordance with rigidly applied rules. Compulsions attempt to reduce the individual's anxiety and prevent a dreaded event or situation from occurring. The coping mechanisms, however, are either excessive or not rationally connected to the fears they are trying to address.

The development of OCD can be severely disabling and can disrupt a person's normal routines, activities, and relationships. If you would like additional details, the Obsessive-Compulsive Foundation (OCF) is an excellent source for more comprehensive information. If you would like additional details, you will find information regarding OCD at the National Institute of Mental Health website. You will also find a detailed explanation of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder on Wikipedia.[Based on the 1994 Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV) published by the American Psychiatric Association.]

Conventional Treatments

There are currently two well-established, effective methods for treating OCD: medication and psychotherapy. Many people obtain relief from their symptoms using these treatments—oftentimes requiring a combination of both for optimal effectiveness. Medication Many antidepressants have been successfully used to treat OCD. The most commonly prescribed drugs are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). The following websites provide additional information about these psychotropic medications and their appropriate use.

Obsessive Compulsive Foundation: Medications for Adults Obsessive Compulsive Foundations: Medications for Kids Center for Addiction and Mental Health: OCD Medications

Psychotherapy Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is the primary form of psychotherapy employed for treating OCD. Effective behavioral treatment relies upon exposure-and-response prevention (ERP) techniques. The following pages provide further information about CBT and about locating a qualified outpatient therapist.

Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies Behavior Therapy | Obsessive Compulsive Foundation

For people who require more intensive treatment, the OC Foundation provides an extensive list of outpatient, partial, and residential programs as well as clinical studies across the United States. Neurosurgery History & Development The following links provide background about the progress of neurosurgery for the treatment of OCD. Various surgical approaches are discussed, including recent trials with Deep Brain Stimulation. These articles are also listed under Scientific Publications in the Articles & Links section. NOTE: Adobe Acrobat Reader or other compatible PDF-viewing software is required.

Neuropsychopharmcology: "Three-Year Outcomes in DBS for Highly Resistant OCD"

CNS Spectrums: "Mechanisms and the Current State of DBS in Neuropsychiatry"

More information about DBS and its various applications is available on Wikipedia.

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