What are SSRIs and how do they impact intrusive thoughts?

For some people, mindfulness and therapy are not enough. Medication can be used in combination to seek better results. According to the International OCD Foundation, about 70% of OCD patients benefit from medication. However, of that 70%, about half stop medication due to negative side effects or other reasons. Those that continue treatment, see a 40-60% reduction in OCD symptoms on average. Medication is not for everyone. It’s crucial that you consult a doctor before considering medicinal options.

The main family of medicines used to treat OCD are known as Serotonin Specific Reuptake Inhibitors, or SSRIs. SSRIs enhance your natural serotonin activity and are used to treat major depressive disorders and anxiety conditions. Examples include Lexapro, Prozac, Paxil and Zoloft. Not all SSRIs will be effective in treating OCD and medication that works for one person may not work for another. That is why SSRI use must be monitored by a professional.

Side effects are common with SSRIs. Because of this, patients must make it a priority to remain open with their doctor about how they’re feeling. If an SSRI is greatly impacting your ability to work, socialize and perform daily tasks, it may be time to stop treatment. Pregnant and breastfeeding women, elderly people, and people with heart problems should not take medication.

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