I recently received a comment on my Send In Your Questions post asking me what has helped me the most in managing my OCD. While many different things have helped, the sole thing that has helped the most is a drug called Luvox (Fluvoxamine). Luvox brought me into remission and has kept me there. I started out taking Zoloft (Sertraline) which had absolutely no effect on my OCD. I didn't notice a difference and if anything it made me worse by instigating an eating disorder. I was up to a very high dose of Zoloft with still little to no improvement. Finally my doctor decided that if Zoloft was going to work it should have by then and she started me on Luvox. Luvox is the only SSRI that was made specifically for treating Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. When I started Luvox I noticed almost instantly it was working. It was not a night and day change by any means but slowly over time my OCD symptoms diminished one by one. I believe that my and most other people's OCD is chemical. It is caused by a chemical imbalance, most likely of the neurotransmitter serotonin. The reason I believe that OCD is a biological disorder as opposed to being caused by the environment is because most often there is no probable "cause". There is often no trigger. I was shopping with my dad when I was 14 years old and a disturbing thought popped into my head. That was it. The beginning of hell. Nothing was causing me to be particularly stressed or anxious that day. That is, nothing I could think of. There was however something causing that first thought to pop into my head and that was my brain. While scientists do not know what causes OCD they do know that genetics and brain chemistry both play important factors. That is why Luvox helped me the most. When my OCD was at it's worse I had 10-15 different rituals and hundreds of disturbing thoughts. When I started taking Luvox my disturbing thoughts are what went first. Pretty soon I was having absolutely no disturbing thoughts and if I thought of one it didn't get "stuck" like it used to. Next, my not so important rituals left. These were the rituals which caused the least amount of anxiety. Then the rituals that caused more anxiety. I would simply stop caring about the rituals. They caused me no more anxiety. A few months after starting Luvox I was living practically OCD free except for one or two rituals which were deeply embedded into my life. I was fine this way however because I had improved so greatly that it didn't matter. I finally left hell and it was wonderful. I became motivated again. I quit homeschooling and went back to school. I started living again.
As I started typing this post I tried to think of one ritual I still had..Guess what? I couldn't. I have no rituals left. I am living completely OCD free and I couldn't be happier and more proud of myself. I do still deal with the occasional anxiety and depression which is being treated with other drugs. The only problem with Luvox is although it is a miracle drug for OCD it does not treating coexisting depression very well, even though it is an SSRI. I now take Luvox 100 mg, Seroquel 150 mg, Remeron 45 mg, and Ativan 1 mg as needed. Now I do have to mention that Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is STRONGLY recommended for OCD patients and I am going to start CBT soon as a preventative measure. I want to have tools to change my thinking patterns. However, I am in counseling and group therapy and that has helped me tremendously. If you have OCD and are not in some form of therapy I highly recommend it.
I am happy to say that I have not only managed but I have beat my OCD and I know that all of you sufferers out there will too. My words of wisdom are speak up, reach out, and fight. Never be to ashamed to reach out because OCD is NOT you, it is a disorder and like any other disorder it IS treatable!