Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) can be treated, enabling people with the disorder to live happier lives. Treatment can help people with OCD manage their intrusive obsessions and compulsions. It may not cure OCD, which can be a lifelong disorder, but it can help control symptoms and stop them ruling a person's life.
The best results may come from a combination of treatments. Options for treating OCD include:
- Cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT): By working with a mental health professional, a person with OCD can learn new and more positive ways to cope with symptoms. The person is gently encouraged to resist their compulsive behaviours and find other ways to reduce their anxiety. Over time, this causes a reduction in the symptoms.
- Medicine: Antidepressants are licensed for the treatment of OCD in Australia and can be very effective. They can assist the brain in restoring a normal chemical balance.
- Community support and recovery programs: OCD can be an isolating disorder. People with OCD and their families can benefit from support groups, where people share coping strategies and develop a support network. Family therapy may also be helpful. Community support and connection can play a vital role in rebuilding lives.
Seeing a doctor, however, is the first step in the journey to wellness.
Where to get helpIf you or someone you know are experiencing symptoms of OCD, it's important to talk to a doctor. Or you can contact one of the services below to speak with someone urgently or to chat online:
- Kids Helpline (telephone and online counselling for ages 5-25) - call 1800 55 1800.
- Mensline Australia (online counselling and forum for men) - call 1300 78 99 78.
- Lifeline (anyone having a personal crisis) – call 13 11 14.
- Suicide Call Back Service (anyone thinking about suicide) - call 1300 659 467.
Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.
Last reviewed: December 2018