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Is There an OCD Cure?

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Updated September 02, 2010

Question: Is There an OCD Cure?
Answer:

As with all forms of mental illness, there is no known OCD cure. While medication can reduce or even eliminate the symptoms of OCD, if you stop taking the drug it is likely that your symptoms will return. Likewise, while psychotherapy can be very effective, if you stop using the techniques you have learned your symptoms may worsen again.

As such, OCD is generally thought of as a chronic illness meaning that much like diabetes or epilepsy, it is something you will have to work on managing every day. Although it can initially be difficult to accept, having a chronic illness like OCD requires you to shift your focus from a final OCD cure to managing and coping with symptoms.

The good news is that there are effective treatments available, and while every treatment does not work for every person, most people can get significant relief of their symptoms using a combination of medication(s) and/or psychotherapy. For people who are unable to find relief using standard treatments, new therapies in the form of deep brain stimulation are on the horizon. There are also a number of helpful strategies that you can use to cope with OCD.

Finally, although it can be frustrating to realize that there is currently no OCD cure, it may be helpful to think about the way you relate to your symptoms. Although unpleasant, anxiety is a very necessary part of life – it can help keep us safe and make us motivated to take action when there is a problem. Indeed, living a life free from anxiety is unrealistic and, in fact, would probably be a little boring. The more you can learn to accept and integrate anxiety into your life – while at the same time learning new skills to deal with anxiety other than with compulsions – the easier it will be to cope with it.

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