While the causes of OCD are unknown there are many good educated guesses. OCD has been shown to run in families, so possibly a deficient gene is passed from generation to generation. Behavioral scientists believe that unusually and excessively rigid childhood family relationships might be a factor. OCD patients, through tests and PET scans have been shown to have difficulty regulating the neurotransmitter serotonin. Serotonin has been associated with functions such as appetite, anxiety, and mood. Most likely, persons with OCD inherit a biological vulnerability to the disorder, which may or may not eventually be triggered by a time of severe stress.
There are treatments available for OCD, although no cure has been found. Treatments vary from person to person, much like their symptoms vary. First, there are medications. Patients often must go though trials on different medications to find the one most helpful to them. Also it is important for patients to learn as much about their medication as possible, all of its possible side effects, interactions with other drugs and stimuli, and its effect on any medical conditions they may have.
There are many medications, each with its own effects and side effects. Anafril (clomipramine) works by restoring the neurotransmitter norepinephrine to normal levels. Norepinephrine is generally associated with cardiovascular regulation. In two to four weeks one should feel the effects of Anafril, but this depends on the dosage and the individual. This medication may inhibit sweating and impair oneís ability to adapt to hot environments; therefore saunas and other extremely hot places should be avoided. Other common side effects include: drowsiness, dizziness, insomnia, blurred vision, rash, and dry mouth.
Luvox (fluroxamine maleate) balances the level of the neurotransmitter serotonin. Serotonin and its absence or presence influences oneís sense of well being. Serotonin levels have been implicated as the cause of many disorders such as anxiety, OCD, depression, stroke, obesity, schizophrenia, hypertension, nausea, pain, migraine and vascular disorders. Serotonin is thought to influence aggression, sleep, appetite, and mood. It may be one to two weeks before one feels the effects of Luvox. Withdrawal symptoms have been reported if the medication is suddenly stopped, so one should not stop taking the drug without consulting a doctor. Other common side effects include: dry mouth, constipation, anorexia, nausea, insomnia, and drowsiness.
Paxil (paroxetine) works by restoring the levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin. Patients thinking of taking Paxil should inform their doctors of they have liver or kidney dysfunction or if they have a history of mania or seizure because the drug may complicate those situations. Paxil can also cause excessive sweating, so patients should replenish lost fluids often when taking the medication. Other common side effects of Paxil include: lowered blood pressure and fainting upon standing, dry mouth, drowsiness, nausea, and headache. One may expect to feel the effects of Paxil in two to four weeks.
Prozac (fluoxetine) is the most commonly prescribed drug for depression and anxiety. Prozac too works by restoring the neurotransmitter serotonin to normal levels. Patients should inform their doctors of liver or kidney dysfunction, if they have Parkinsonís Disease, have a history of psychosis, plan to be pregnant while taking Prozac, or have a seizure disorder, as Prozac may complicate these situations. Common side effects of Prozac include: decreased appetite, weight loss, headache, insomnia, nausea, and altered taste. One should also avoid grape-fruit juice while taking Prozac because of increased blood levels. The Prozac should take effect in one to four weeks.
Zoloft (sertraline) works by bringing the neurotransmitter serotonin to normal levels. Patients taking Zoloft should inform their doctors if they have liver or kidney dysfunction, Parkinsonís Disease, had a recent heart attack, plan to be pregnant or have a seizure disorder as Zoloft may complicate these conditions. Some of Zoloftís common side effects include: drowsiness, diarrhea, nausea, decreased appetite, and weight loss. The Zoloft should take effect in two to four weeks.
Effexor (venlafaxine) perhaps relieves the symptoms of OCD better than other medications because it increases the levels of both serotonin and norepinephrine. Depending on the person and the dosage, one should start feeling better in about two to four weeks. Patients with kidney, heart, or liver disease, or that have high blood pressure should let their doctor know of their condition due to possible complications with Effexor. Effexorís most common side effects