Obsessive–Compulsive Disorder Medication: The Best Treatment To Reduce Symptoms

OCD Medication

Do you find yourself constantly battling with repetitive thoughts or compulsive behaviors that just won’t quit? If obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is making everyday life challenging, you’re not alone, and there is hope. One effective way to manage these overwhelming feelings is through medication.

In this blog, we’ll dive into the world of OCD medications. We’ll explore different types, how they can help ease your symptoms, what dosages are typical, and the side effects you might expect. Whether you’re considering medication for the first time or looking to understand more about your current treatment, this blog is there to help you. So, let’s discover how the right medication can be a key part of your journey to regain control over your thoughts and actions.

Commonly Prescribed OCD Medications

Commonly Prescribed OCD MedicationsWhen it comes to treating Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), medication can be a crucial component of managing symptoms effectively. The most commonly prescribed medications for OCD are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and tricyclic antidepressants. Here’s a look at some specific medications (approved by the Food and Drug Administration FDA )and how they help alleviate OCD symptoms:

  • SSRIs (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors)

    SSRIs are typically the first line of treatment for OCD. They work by increasing levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter in the brain that helps regulate mood, anxiety, and happiness. Higher levels of serotonin can reduce OCD symptoms and improve mood.

  • Tricyclic Antidepressants
    • Clomipramine (Anafranil)

    Although it’s an older class of drug, clomipramine is especially effective for OCD but often used as a second-line treatment due to more pronounced side effects compared to SSRIs. Tricyclic antidepressants work similarly by affecting serotonin levels but also impact other neurotransmitters, providing a robust therapeutic effect.

How These Medications Alleviate OCD Symptoms

Both SSRIs and tricyclic antidepressants help manage OCD by affecting the balance of chemicals in the brain, primarily serotonin. By increasing serotonin levels, these medications help calm the hyperactive circuits in the brain associated with obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors, making them less frequent and intense. This chemical adjustment helps patients to feel more in control of their thoughts and actions, reduces anxiety, and improves overall functioning.

Is It Safe To Use Medication for OCD?

Is It Safe To Use Medication for OCDYes, it is generally safe to use medication for treating Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), especially when it is prescribed by a qualified healthcare professional who monitors your treatment. However, like all medications, those used for OCD can have side effects, and their safety can depend on individual health conditions and the presence of other medications you might be taking.

Key Considerations for Safety:

  • Always start or modify medication under the guidance of a psychiatrist or other healthcare provider familiar with OCD.
  • Regular follow-ups are crucial to assess the effectiveness of the medication and to monitor for any side effects.
  • Some concerns may arise with long-term use of psychiatric medication, such as potential impacts on body weight, sexual health, and overall physical health. These risks must be managed by regular health checks and consultations.
  • It’s important to consider how OCD medications interact with other medications you might be taking. Some combinations can lead to serious health risks, so always keep all your healthcare providers informed about all the medications and supplements you are taking.

In conclusion, while there are some risks associated with using medication to treat OCD, these can typically be managed effectively with careful medical supervision, making medication a safe and crucial option for many individuals battling OCD.

Dosages for OCD Medications

Here are typical dosage ranges for some of the most commonly used OCD medications:

Fluoxetine (Prozac)

  • Typical starting dose: 20 mg per day
  • Maintenance dose: 20-60 mg per day
  • Maximum dose: Up to 80 mg per day in adults

Sertraline (Zoloft)

  • Typical starting dose: 50 mg per day
  • Maintenance dose: 50-200 mg per day
  • Maximum dose: Up to 200 mg per day

Paroxetine (Paxil)

  • Typical starting dose: 20 mg per day
  • Maintenance dose: 20-60 mg per day
  • Maximum dose: Up to 60 mg per day

Fluvoxamine (Luvox)

  • Typical starting dose: 50 mg per day
  • Maintenance dose: 100-300 mg per day
  • Maximum dose: Up to 300 mg per day

Clomipramine (Anafranil)

  • Typical starting dose: 25 mg per day
  • Maintenance dose: 100-250 mg per day
  • Maximum dose: Up to 250 mg per day

Important Considerations

  • Dosages are usually started low and increased gradually to minimize side effects and assess effectiveness.
  • Regular check-ins with your healthcare provider are essential for monitoring the effectiveness of the medication and making any necessary adjustments.
  • Individuals respond differently to medications, so what works for one person might not work for another, necessitating adjustments in dosage or even a change in medication.

Potential Side Effects

While medications for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) can be highly effective in managing symptoms, they can also come with a range of side effects.  Common Side Effects include:

  • Nausea
  • Drowsiness
  • Dry Mouth
  • Weight Gain
  • Sexual Side Effects

Note: Not everyone will experience side effects, and their severity can vary significantly from person to person.

Who Should Not Take OCD Medication?

If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or have a history of seizures, then you should not take OCD medication. It is also not recommended for people who are taking Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) for depression. If you are unsure if taking the medication is safe, talk to your doctor.

Alternative Treatments and Supplements for OCD

Alternative Treatments and Supplements for OCD

While medications are a common treatment for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), there are also various alternative treatments and supplements that can complement or even serve as substitutes for traditional medications. These options can be particularly appealing for those who prefer natural remedies or who may experience significant side effects from conventional drugs.

Behavioral Therapies

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): One of the most effective non-medical treatments for OCD, CBT focuses on changing specific thought patterns and behaviors. Techniques such as Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP), a subset of CBT, are particularly effective, involving controlled exposure to the source of your obsession followed by instruction on avoiding typical compulsive behaviors.
  • Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT): This approach combines mindfulness practices like meditation with elements of cognitive therapy to help you become more aware of your thoughts and feelings and learn to manage them effectively without the need for compulsive behavior.

Lifestyle Changes

  • Regular Exercise: Engaging in regular physical activity can help reduce the severity of OCD symptoms by releasing endorphins, which are natural mood lifters. Exercise can also serve as a healthy distraction from compulsive behaviors.
  • Adequate Sleep: Ensuring you get enough rest is crucial for mental health and can help alleviate the stress and anxiety associated with OCD.
  • Balanced Diet: Eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains can help stabilize mood and improve overall health, potentially reducing the symptoms of OCD.

Mind-Body Practices

  • Yoga and Tai Chi: These practices combine physical postures, breathing exercises, and meditation to enhance physical and mental wellbeing. They can be particularly beneficial in managing anxiety and stress associated with OCD.
  • Meditation and Relaxation Techniques: Regular meditation can help improve your ability to control attention and reduce obsessive thoughts. Techniques such as progressive muscle relaxation or guided imagery can also be helpful in managing the anxiety that often accompanies OCD.

Integrating these non-medical approaches with traditional therapies can provide a comprehensive strategy to effectively manage OCD.


Dealing with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) can feel overwhelming, but you don’t have to face it alone. While medications are a big help, combining them with other treatments can make a real difference in your life.

Consider trying therapy, natural supplements, and healthy lifestyle changes like exercise and mindfulness to improve your overall well-being. These steps can build on the benefits of your medication and help you manage your symptoms better.

If you’re looking for more support, online counseling is a great option. MantraCare offers affordable online counseling with experienced therapists ready to help you tackle OCD.

Take control of your OCD—book a trial therapy session with MantraCare today. Let’s work together to create a treatment plan that fits your needs and helps you live better.

Try MantraCare Wellness Program free

"*" indicates required fields

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.