The first step to treating OCD is getting a clinical diagnosis from a qualified mental healthcare professional, like a psychiatrist. With Talkiatry, you can see a psychiatrist from the comfort of your couch and you can schedule your first appointment in a matter of days.Here’s what to expect in your first visit:
: During your first visit with a Talkiatry psychiatrist, you’ll get to meet each other and answer questions about your current symptoms, personal history, medical history, and mental health goals.
: Based on the information you’ve shared, your psychiatrist will be able to provide a diagnosis of your condition, if you have one. Getting a diagnosis can feel scary, but it can also feel validating to finally put a name to what you've been experiencing. Your psychiatrist will help you navigate any emotions that come up and work with you on a path to move forward.
: You’ll collaborate with your psychiatrist on the best way to manage your symptoms. If medication is appropriate, you’ll discuss your options, including the benefits and potential side effects of each medication. Your psychiatrist will provide supportive therapy throughout your session, and may also recommend working with one of our therapists. Our therapists partner with our psychiatrists in a collaborative model to provide holistic care.
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Depending on your symptoms and needs, your psychiatrist may recommend medication as part of your OCD treatment plan. SRIs (serotonin reuptake inhibitors) which include SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) are the most common type of prescription medication used to reduce OCD symptoms.
SSRIs are a type of antidepressant that work by increasing the level of serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is a chemical that’s thought to help influence mood, emotion, and sleep. While SSRIs are typically prescribed to treat depression, they can also successfully treat OCD.
Someone with OCD generally needs a different dose of an SSRI than someone with depression, and it may take 6-12 weeks to see maximum benefit. If you don’t respond to one SSRI, it’s possible you may respond to another, which is why your psychiatrist will work closely with you to make sure you’re getting the maximum benefit from your medication.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
Your psychiatrist may recommend therapeutic methods in combination with medication to manage your OCD. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a therapeutic technique that has been shown to help with OCD, particularly in managing anxiety and developing healthy coping mechanisms.
One type of CBT that’s an especially effective treatment for OCD is called ERP (exposure and response prevention, or EX/RP). This therapy gradually exposes you to situations that trigger compulsions—in a safe environment. By spending time in these situations while not engaging in compulsive behavior, you’ll learn to cope with your anxieties in a healthy way. While this type of therapy can seem frightening at first, it’s considered a “first-line” treatment, meaning that alongside medication, it’s one of the most effective options in the treatment of OCD.