Healthdirect Free Australian health advice you can count on.

Medical problem? Call 1800 022 222. If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately

healthdirect Australia is a free service where you can talk to a nurse or doctor who can help you know what to do.

beginning of content

Treatments for OCD

2-minute read

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 help

If 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:

Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

Last reviewed: December 2018

Back To Top

Need more information?

These trusted information partners have more on this topic.

Top results

Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)

OCD is an anxiety disorder. People living with OCD are troubled by recurring unwanted thoughts, images, or impulses, as well as obsessions and repetit...

Read more on SANE Australia website

Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) - Beyond Blue

Obsessive compulsive disorder can lead to unhealthy patterns of behaviour that can cause difficulties in daily functioning

Read more on Beyond Blue website

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) Explained | THIS WAY UP

What is Obsessive Comulsive Disorder (OCD)? Understanding the signs, symptoms & treatment options available for those dealing with OCD.

Read more on This Way Up website

OCD? Not Me!

An eight stage online OCD treatment program developed by researchers at Curtin University. This program also provides support for families.

Read more on OCD? Not Me! website

OCD in children & teenagers | Raising Children Network

Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder. It can stop children and teenagers from enjoying life. Here’s how to help your child with OCD.

Read more on website

Obsessive compulsive disorder - family and friends - Better Health Channel

Living with a person with OCD can have a major impact on family and friends.

Read more on Better Health Channel website

Online Treatment Course for OCD | THIS WAY UP

Learn practical strategies for managing obsessive thoughts and compulsive urges with our clinically-proven online course for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

Read more on This Way Up website

Obsessive compulsive disorder | Your Health in Mind

A person with OCD feels overwhelmed by unwanted thoughts, which often disgust or horrify them.

Read more on RANZCP - The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists website

MindSpot OCD Course to manage obsessions and/or compulsions - MindSpot Clinic

The MindSpot OCD Course can help people manage obsessions and/or compulsions.

Read more on MindSpot Clinic website

Are people with OCD more likely to take their own lives?

Academic research can be hard to understand. SANE's Plain English research series translates important research into everyday language, to connect...

Read more on SANE Australia website

Healthdirect 24hr 7 days a week hotline

24 hour health advice you can count on

1800 022 222

Government Accredited with over 140 information partners

We are a government-funded service, providing quality, approved health information and advice

Australian Government, health department logo ACT Government logo New South Wales government, health department logo Northen Territory Government logo Government of South Australia, health department logo Tasmanian government logo Government of Western Australia, health department logo