Medications and OCD

Classic OCD starts with a thought, “what if?”. Obsessive thoughts lead to compulsive behaviors. The serotonin system in the brain is overactive. Medications that increase serotonin make OCD worse. Every medicine that significantly helps OCD is a Reuptake Inhibitor of serotonin, or SSRI.
When an SSRI is taken initially, (within the first 24 hours), serotonin is increased. This happens because there is an increase of serotonin in the synapse between nerve cells. After taking the medication for several weeks the serotonin down regulates (reduces) the receptors and production of serotonin decreases. Patience is required to see the full effect of the medication because it sometimes takes 3-4 months to achieve. However, high doses are frequently needed.
Adding Klonopin is often helpful because it helps decrease serotonin activity. Studies show a success rate of between 50 and 80 percent improvement by individuals treated with medication only. However, medication works best when combined with cognitive and behavioral therapy.

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