Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder in Adults
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a brain disorder that affects adults of all ages and socioeconomic backgrounds. It is characterized by repeated mental acts and intrusive thoughts. Symptoms may be minimal or severe and they can affect almost every aspect of life.
Obsessive-compulsive symptoms can be difficult to cope with and interfere with occupational and social functioning. OCD can be treated with medications and psychotherapy. However, a significant minority of people with OCD will not respond to treatment.
Research is currently focused on improving the diagnosis of and treating adults with OCD. Clinical trials using various approaches are being conducted to understand how OCD is triggered and how to treat it. Treatments include antidepressants and serotonergic antidepressants.
There are also new therapeutic interventions being tested. One is a new neuromodulation called deep brain stimulation. This technique is being used to treat people with treatment-resistant OCD.
Other treatments include cognitive behavioral therapy and habit reversal training. Both can be as effective as medication in some cases. The focus of treatment for OCD is on reducing the symptoms and improving the brain circuits that are involved.
Although many individuals who have OCD will remit, relapses can happen. Relapses are associated with marked distress and functional impairment. Studies suggest that relapses are linked with a decreased response to previous efficacious treatment.
Treatment for OCD is often personalized. Experts agree that 13 to 20 weekly sessions are standard for treatment.
Medications are usually prescribed to help reduce the symptoms. They work by changing chemical messengers in the brain. Drugs may take up to 12 weeks before they start to show results.