Generalized Anxiety Disorder Treatment
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Generalized anxiety disorder treatment often involves therapy and medication. GAD affects more than 10 million Americans every year. Watch our video to learn more about GAD treatment.
Transcript: Generalized Anxiety Disorder takes it toll on 10 million Americans each year. For people who have been...
Generalized Anxiety Disorder takes it toll on 10 million Americans each year. For people who have been diagnosed with GAD, what treatment options are available? Fortunately, most patients who have Generalized Anxiety Disorder respond well to treatments like therapy and medication. Although each of these can be used individually, patients are most commonly treated with a combination of both.There are several kinds of medicine that can help treat GAD, and which are especially helpful for people whose anxiety is interfering with their day-to-day life. The primary medications currently used to treat GAD come from a class of drugs called benzodiazepines, sometimes referred to as ""tranquilizers."" Common tranquilizers like Xanax and Valium produce a feeling of calm and decrease the physical symptoms of GAD like muscle tension and restlessness. However, drowsiness may be an unwanted side effect. Another kind of medicine used to treat GAD is BuSpar, a medication that specifically targets anxiety by affecting the levels of serotonin in the brain. Although it is not as universally effective as tranquilizers, BuSpar does not cause drowsiness as a side effect. Also, antidepressants like Paxil and Effexor are sometimes used to treat GAD. Therapy is also an important part of treating GAD. One type of therapy in particular, known as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, can be useful for GAD sufferers because it teaches them to change the thought patterns and behaviors that lead to anxiety.Most people get substantial relief with a combination of therapy and medication, although some people with GAD do experience ongoing symptoms. People who are trying to cope with the symptoms of GAD can take some everyday steps that will help. Eating a healthy, balanced diet that includes a mix of food groups and exercising daily are good ways to help reduce these symptoms. It is also smart to reduce the consumption of products that contain caffeine, like coffee, tea, and soda, because caffeine is a stimulant that can heighten anxiety. Over-the-counter medicines and herbal remedies sometimes contain chemicals that can increase anxiety symptoms - it is smart to speak to your doctor or pharmacist before taking these products. Also, make sure to seek counseling after a traumatic experience or particularly severe symptoms. If you think you have Generalized Anxiety Disorder, be sure to contact your doctor so that you can get treated, and start to feel better. If you are interested in learning about treatment options for GAD check out additional videos on the topic.More »
Last Modified: 2014-01-20 | Tags »
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Paxil is a common antidepressant used to treat depression. See how Paxil works, and about its possible side effects.
Transcript: Paroxetine is a prescription medication which is available both as a generic drug and under the brand...
Paroxetine is a prescription medication which is available both as a generic drug and under the brand name Paxil. Paroxetine belongs to a class of drugs known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs. Like other SSRIs, paroxetine is believed to work by increasing the brain's supply of the feel-good hormone, serotonin. This corrects an existing chemical imbalance, improving mood and creating a feeling of well-being. Paroxetine is most commonly used in the treatment of clinical depression and anxiety disorders. It can also be effective at treating social anxiety disorder. Paxil is available in tablets of ten to forty milligram. An extended release version, Paxil CR, is available in capsules of twelve point five to thirty-seven point five milligrams. Paroxetine should be taken once a day with water. Once you have been taking this medication regularly, do NOT suddenly stop using it, as serious withdrawal symptoms can occur. The most commonly reported side effects of paroxetine include apathy, sexual dysfunction, and drowsiness, but please ask your doctor for a complete list. Also, tell your doctor IMMEDIATELY if you experience spasms or seizures, yellowing of the skin and eyes, suicidal thoughts, or any other significant changes. Paroxetine should not be taken with MAO Inhibitors, like Nardil, or by anyone who is pregnant. Ask your doctor for a full list of medications and conditions that should not be combined with paroxetine. Paxil is a commonly used drug and it can be very effective at easing the symptoms of people with depression. However, this medication must always be used under the direct care of a physician. Please ask for and review all of the patient information provided by your doctor before taking paroxetine.More »
Last Modified: 2014-01-20 | Tags »
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When stress adversely affects your physical and emotional health, it may be time to learn the facts on anxiety disorders. Watch our video for information.
Transcript: Anxiety is often described as a feeling of uneasiness, nervousness, worry, or dread of what might happen....
Anxiety is often described as a feeling of uneasiness, nervousness, worry, or dread of what might happen. These emotions are usually accompanied by physical symptoms, like tense muscles, sweaty palms, an upset stomach, or a racing heart. Normal, healthy anxiety usually occurs in reaction to a real stressor. That stressor can be as relatively minor as a doctor's appointment, a first date, or a work review and as major as a job layoff, or the end of a relationship. A person experiencing everyday anxiety can usually pinpoint this stressor, and can take steps to make unpleasant feelings abate. But the National Institute for Mental Health attests that - for 40 million Americans - anxiety is more than a passing emotion it's a debilitating mental illness. Unlike the relatively short-lived anxiety we all experience, generalized anxiety disorders lasts at least six months and individuals who have it find the symptoms to be so crippling that it interferes with normal, everyday life. Frequently, people with anxiety disorders cannot pinpoint what causes their symptoms. Some sufferers find that they worry almost constantly, even if there is little or no reason for their anxious feelings. Other individuals with anxiety disorders have specific phobias to run-of-the-mill things, like flying, spiders, or even social situations. Still other sufferers have compulsions, or rigid rituals that they employ in an attempt to control their constant worry and fear. And some people with anxiety disorders find themselves occasionally struck with sudden and very intense physical distress known as panic attacks. If you are experiencing any of these severe symptoms, you may have an anxiety disorder. Make an appointment with your doctor immediately! After all, the sooner anxiety disorders are diagnosed, the sooner they can be treated.More »
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Some 40 million Americans experience anxiety disorders. The most common include obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), post-traumatic stress disorder, panic disorder and various phobias.
Transcript: Anxiety disorders are much different than the normal anxiety we all experience on occasion. Instead,...
Anxiety disorders are much different than the normal anxiety we all experience on occasion. Instead, these mental illnesses last at least six months and affect a person's ability to lead a normal life. Generally, anxiety disorders are classified into SIX categories: Specific phobias, social phobias, post-traumatic stress disorder, panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and generalized anxiety disorder. While some individuals have symptoms of more than one anxiety disorder, most fall largely in one distinct group. Affecting some 19.2 million Americans, phobias are the most common anxiety disorder. A phobia is an intense fear of a specific situation or thing. Some of the most common phobias include fear of heights, flying, dogs, highway driving, water, tight spaces, and blood. While people with phobias tend to know their fears are irrational, they often have trouble facing them. A similar disorder, social phobia, is overwhelming embarrassment or fear surrounding normal social situations. About 15 million Americans have social phobias, which can be as distinct as eating in front of others and as broad as being around anyone other than close family. Often, social phobias manifest physically as blushing, trembling, and trouble talking. And no matter what the phobia, it may produce what is known as a panic attack. Panic attacks are the cornerstone of another anxiety disorder called Panic Disorder. For the 6 million Americans with Panic Disorder, intense fear is accompanied by unexpected and severe physical symptoms. These symptoms, or panic attacks, may manifest as dizziness, shortness of breath, chest pain, and a racing heart. Ironically, it is often the fear of having a panic attack that causes one to occur. Another well-known anxiety disorder is Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, or OCD, which affects about 2.2 million adults. People with OCD tend to become focused on a disturbing or frightening thought, called an obsession. An OCD sufferer will then create an elaborate ritual, or compulsion, to cope with the obsession. Sometimes an obsession - like avoiding germs - matches the compulsion, like repeated hand washing. But sometimes, the two don't seem to relate at all. For example a person may believe that repeatedly checking, touching, or counting things will ensure that a loved one doesn't die. A fifth anxiety issue - Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder - follows from a traumatic event, like military combat or sexual assault. The 7.7 million Americans with PTSD relieve their trauma through flashback. They often become emotionally numb, losing interest in previously enjoyable activities. Conversely, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, or GAD, is a mental illness that often exists for little or no reason. People with GAD spend each day filled with intense worry or tension about day-to-day life. For the 6.8 million Americans with the disorder, it can be tough to sleep, eat, or ever feel relaxed. If any of these symptoms sound familiar to you, make an appointment to speak with your doctor about anxiety disorders!More »
Last Modified: 2013-10-02 | Tags »
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The causes of anxiety can be numerous, and the reasons are often individual. But if left untreated, anxiety can trigger other health problems, too. Learn more about anxiety and its treatment here.
Transcript: One of the most common reasons people feel anxious, on-edge, worried, or tense is that an external concern...
One of the most common reasons people feel anxious, on-edge, worried, or tense is that an external concern is on their mind. Stress at work or school difficulties in a personal relationship and financial concerns, are all examples of external causes of anxiety. Experiencing a traumatic event, like a car accident or battlefield combat, is another common example. Yet another potential external precursor to anxious feelings is using illegal recreational drugs, like cocaine or LSD. And even legal, prescription drugs may have this unwanted emotional side effect. On the other hand, a person with anxiety may have an internal, physical reason for their symptoms. Common anxiety symptoms - like heart palpitations, tremors, and shortness of breath - could actually point to a physical condition. For example, a rapidly beating heart could be a sign of a heart condition and shortness of breath could be related to asthma. On the flip side, having a physical condition like this could lead to the development of anxious feelings. Any of these factors may cause short-term, mild anxiety. But for some people, that normal anxiety balloons into a serious mental disorder. Among the individuals most predisposed to anxiety disorders are those with a history of mental illness in their family. Additionally, many people with recurrent anxiety have a chemical imbalance in their brains that makes it hard to regulate emotions properly. Personality also plays a roll. Individuals with low self-esteem and poor coping mechanisms are more prone to anxiety disorders. And, of course, many people who develop anxiety disorders have a history of traumatic or disturbing external factors in their pasts. While there are clearly many causes for anxiety, there are also many treatment options! Medications, therapy, and hypnosis are just a few of the ways in which doctors treat anxiety disorders. So if you think your own anxious feelings could point to an anxiety disorder, make an appointment to discuss them with your physician!More »
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Most of the time, anxiety stems from stressors. You can prevent anxiety by learning how to avoid these stressors and using tactics to help you calm down. Get advice on anxiety prevention in this video.
Transcript: With few exceptions, everyday anxiety stems from a specific mental or physical stressor. Stressors vary...
With few exceptions, everyday anxiety stems from a specific mental or physical stressor. Stressors vary from person to person, and what terrifies one, may exhilarate another. Unfortunately, many stressors - like job interviews and doctor's appointments - are tough to avoid. The good news is that once a person realizes the particular events that cause the anxiety, it becomes easier to develop coping mechanisms. One of the easiest ways to prevent anxiety is to exercise regularly, which prompts your body to release feel-good chemicals, known as endorphins into the brain. Exercising also elevates body temperature, which can have a calming effect on the body. It's also important to eat a healthy, balanced diet. This includes cutting back on caffeine, which can make anxiety symptoms worse. Similarly, it's vital to get the sleep your body and brain need to recharge. Aside from these lifestyle adjustments, one of the best ways to prevent anxiety is to learn relaxation techniques. Some people find that meditation, a state of focused, intense concentration, is an effective option. Others circumnavigate anxiety when they imagine, or visualize, a positive series of events or outcomes to a situation. And still other individuals relax by focusing on their breathing. This method is particularly effective, as people tend to hold their breath in moments of anxiety, which just aggravates symptoms! Often, the best anxiety prevention is a mix of lifestyle changes and relaxation techniques. Remember though, that while you can prevent some of life's everyday anxieties, most people cannot prevent an anxiety disorder. Anxiety disorders are a group of mental illnesses that are hard to control without proper treatment. So if you find that your anxiety does not respond to prevention techniques, or that anxious feelings dominate your day-to-day life, speak with your doctor about what you are experiencing.More »
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Anxiety disorders symptoms are not always clear cut. To help, your doctor will use a tool called the DSM IV to help diagnose your disorder. Learn more in this video.
Transcript: Generally, a person with an anxiety disorder finds that nervous emotions interfere with the ability to...
Generally, a person with an anxiety disorder finds that nervous emotions interfere with the ability to lead a normal life. Unlike the short-lived anxiety we all face, an individual with an anxiety condition finds that the symptoms are fairly constant. If this sounds like you the first step toward a diagnosis is making an appointment with your general practitioner. During this appointment, the doctor will take detailed notes regarding your medical history and current symptoms. She'll perform a basic physical exam and may use various laboratory tests, like blood work, to ensure that the problem is not rooted in a physical cause. If no physical medical condition is found, your general practitioner will refer you to a mental health professional. It's VITAL that you feel comfortable with this individual! If you do not, ask for another recommendation. Once you find a psychiatrist or psychologist that you like, he will want to talk to you about your symptoms. Your practitioner will then use this information - and information from his own observations - to determine if an anxiety disorder is present. Although there is no laboratory test to confirm this diagnosis there IS a manual of mental illnesses compiled by the American Psychiatric Association. Known as the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder, or DSM IV, this book is the gold standard for diagnosing anxiety disorders and other mental illnesses in the United States. Remember, there ARE treatment options for anxiety disorders! If you're concerned about your own levels of worry, make an appointment to speak with your doctor.More »
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If you thought anxiety only plagued adults, think again! Panic attacks and other anxiety symptoms are very common among children, although they often feel stressed for different reasons.
Transcript: Just as in adults, a certain amount of anxiety is normal in children of every age. In fact, anxious feelings...
Just as in adults, a certain amount of anxiety is normal in children of every age. In fact, anxious feelings are such a part of growing up that psychologists outline anxieties to expect in kids as they grow. For example, infants as young as eight months may experience intense anxiety about being apart from their parents. This separation anxiety often lasts through the preschool years. Young children - generally aged three to six - often worry about things that are not based in reality. This is the age when kids express fear of monsters, ghosts, and the dark. From about seven years old and onward, children may express anxiety about real circumstances such as natural disasters, physical injury, and even death. And kids of any age - particularly teenagers - may express anxiety about certain social situations. Some of these anxieties can be helpful to kids, as a bit of unease can keep them alert and focused during moments of tension. And others keep them safe, like when a child is afraid of - and consequently avoids - fire or strangers. But just as anxiety can be helpful, it can also become a hindrance if it persists. Often, intense anxiety can manifest physically in a child as stomachaches, headaches, chest pain, body aches, a racing heart, and accelerated breathing. Anxious children often have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep. Their ability to concentrate may suffer or they may lose interest in previously enjoyable activities and people. Often, children with anxiety disorders seem irritable and agitated and they may show signs of low self-esteem, or unrealistic expectations of themselves. All of these signs of severe tension should be taken seriously! That's because unresolved anxieties and fears in children can lead to lingering anxieties and fears in adults. Plus, anxious children often don't learn vital skills, such as coping with day-to-day life and engaging in meaningful social interactions. So if you're the parent of a child who seems unusually anxious, make time to talk to her health care provider.More »
Last Modified: 2013-11-22 | Tags »
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Anxiety and depression are different mental health conditions. They surely coexist, but can anxiety cause depression? Check out this video to find the answer.
Transcript: Although they often occur hand-in-hand, anxiety and depression are different mental illnesses. People...
Although they often occur hand-in-hand, anxiety and depression are different mental illnesses. People with anxiety disorders find that their near-constant fears and worries make it hard to lead a normal life. They may also experience physical symptoms like muscle tension, headaches, stomachaches, and heart palpitations. Meanwhile, a person with a depressive disorder is regularly burdened by feelings of hopelessness, insignificance, and despair. Lethargy, severe fatigue and various aches and pains are physical symptoms that may accompany depression. In most cases where depression and anxiety occur simultaneously, anxiety sets in first. That may be because people with anxiety disorders spend a great deal of time in an agitated, tense, and uneasy state. This can take a huge emotional toll, causing a person to become clinically depressed. On the flipside, a depressed person may spend a great deal of time worrying, which can, in turn, lead to anxiety. There also seems to be a genetic connection between anxiety and depression. Research indicates that both disorders occur with more frequency in people who have a first degree relative with mental illness. That's bad news, because when symptoms of depression and anxiety occur together, they are often more severe than when the conditions manifest separately. Plus, depression that is exacerbated by anxiety is more likely to lead to suicide than depression on its own. While this is disturbing, there are effective treatments available for both depressive and anxiety disorders! Often, antidepressants like Paxil and Zoloft can help ease emotional symptoms of both conditions. And participating in long-term talk therapy can also produce great results. If you, or someone you love, seems plagued by feelings of depression, anxiety - or both - talk to a psychologist.More »
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What is OCD? It stands for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Learn more about OCD and how to identify the signs.
Transcript: Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is a type of anxiety disorder. People who have OCD continually have unwanted,...
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is a type of anxiety disorder. People who have OCD continually have unwanted, overpowering thoughts (obsessions) that drive them to compulsive actions in an effort to make those thoughts go away. Anxiety is part of life. Everyone has worries and doubts at times. But, anxiety can actually help keep us alert and ready to react quickly when needed. The difference between typical concerns about illness or finances, and habits like bedtime rituals or "cleaning day," is that the anxiety is temporary and the routines typically flexible. For people with OCD, constant anxiety and necessary rituals interfere with daily living. People with OCD become obsessed with their thoughts and fears. Driven to banish those troubling thoughts, they compulsively perform the same rituals again and again. Most people with OCD realize that their actions are unreasonable, but they can't stop. And trying to ignore their thoughts and stop their rituals only increases their anxiety. Common obsessions include: fear of germs or losing control, excessive concerns with precise order or throwing something away, doubts about completing tasks perfectly, and aggressive or inappropriate thoughts. People with OCD may repeatedly scrub household areas, constantly check that the stove is off or the alarm system on, accumulate useless items, or endlessly rearrange cupboards, shelves and closets. Other compulsive rituals include: washing hands repeatedly, often until they're raw; being unable to stop repeating phrases or activities; and plucking hair from the head, body, eyelashes or eyebrows. Ultimately, these rituals can interfere with the ability to function at work or school, and with family or friends. OCD was once thought to be a result of life experiences. But research NOW points to a genetic link involving distinctive brain structure patterns that can cause problems in information processing. OCD can appear in childhood, adolescence or early adulthood, but the average age of onset is about 19. It exists fairly equally between men and women, and among various races and socioeconomic backgrounds. For children and adolescents, OCD can make completing homework and household chores especially difficult - and lead to self-esteem issues, as OCD sufferers are likely aware that they're "different." People with OCD may also develop additional anxiety disorders, such as social anxiety or a phobia. Eating disorders or depression may occur as well. Unfortunately, turning to substance abuse is not uncommon for OCD sufferers. Studies suggest that about 25 percent of people with OCD use alcohol or drugs to cope with their symptoms. People with OCD often become prisoners of their obsessions and compulsions, often trying to hide their actions, fearing embarrassment or ridicule. But OCD is treatable with professional help! Thanks to research, OCD is better understood - and there are treatments that can help. If you - or someone you know - is affected by OCD, consult a mental health professional.More »
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For a person with obsessive compulsive disorder, overwhelming, unwanted compulsions are tied to obsessive behaviors, like ritualistic counting. Recognizing OCD is the first step to getting help. Here's a primer.
Transcript: Stress is part of life. So are routines. With OCD, a type of anxiety disorder, normal concerns and habits...
Stress is part of life. So are routines. With OCD, a type of anxiety disorder, normal concerns and habits are pushed aside by unwanted thoughts, which compel a person compulsively to perform rituals to make the thoughts go away. The first step toward diagnosis - and, ultimately, getting help - is understanding OCD's symptoms, which are each affected person's unique obsessions and the compulsive behaviors that result. Obsessions are uncontrollable fears, irrational impulses, and persistent, unwanted thoughts that occupy the mind of a person affected by OCD. These obsessions typically center on themes, like fear of contamination, harm or losing control; perfectionism, unwanted sexual thoughts, and excessive preoccupation with morality and/or religion, also called scrupulosity. Compulsions, which are the persistent repetitive actions by people with OCD, are usually performed according to "rules" that their minds tell them will make everything okay. A person with OCD may constantly scrub household areas, recheck that tasks are performed correctly - like making sure the burglar alarm is on - repeat activities according to a "safe" number, or continually rearrange items to be sure they're "right." The difference between typical concerns about illness or finances, and habits like bedtime rituals or "cleaning day," is that the anxiety is temporary and the routines typically flexible. For people with OCD, constant anxiety and necessary rituals interfere with daily living. Unfortunately, most people with OCD remain undiagnosed for years. One reason for this is that OCD sufferers often hide their behaviors, fearing embarrassment, ridicule or discrimination. Others simply don't think of their behavior in terms of a treatable illness. If you - or someone you know - is affected by OCD, it's important to realize that there's no shame in seeking help. In fact, talking to a family doctor or a mental health professional is a positive step toward regaining control of one's daily life. There are several components to an accurate diagnosis of OCD including a thorough psychological, medical and family history, as well as a discussion of specific symptoms and behavior patterns. Diagnosing OCD involves meeting the criteria published by the American Psychiatric Association - including experiencing obsessions or compulsions that significantly interfere with one's daily routine, and realizing they're excessive or unreasonable. The clinician also confirms that the obsessions are intrusive, persistent thoughts that cause distress and can't be suppressed - and that the compulsive, repetitive behaviors are an effort to prevent anxiety about unrealistic obsessions. Symptoms of OCD are the obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors meeting the American Psychiatric Association's criteria. And once diagnosed, there are treatments that can help. For concerns about OCD, consult a mental health professional.More »
Last Modified: 2013-11-22 | Tags »
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Cognitive behavior therapy is an effective form of OCD treatment. Watch this video for more on OCD treatment options.
Transcript: Successful treatment for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) varies according to each person's unique...
Successful treatment for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) varies according to each person's unique obsessions and compulsive behaviors. But with ongoing treatment - typically involving behavioral therapy, medication, or both - most people can realize long-term relief from their symptoms. For most people with OCD, the first step toward treatment is visiting a family doctor to discuss the various symptoms that are causing distress, along with assessing the presence of any other anxiety disorder or medical condition. If OCD is suspected, the doctor will suggest a mental health provider who can provide insight about treatment options. Studies show that a strong bond between therapist and patient is essential to successful treatment outcomes. So choosing a therapist should take into account mutual levels of comfort, confidence - and commitment to the treatment process. Most therapists use behavioral therapies, medication - or combine the two, which has proved to be the most effective approach for treating OCD. Some patients respond to treatment within months, while others may need longer for their symptoms to improve. The most common behavioral therapy for OCD is Cognitive Behavior Therapy, CBT. With CBT, patients are helped to confront their fears and reduce their anxiety through exposure and response prevention exercises, while refraining from the compulsive behaviors. This type of therapy calls for the patient to list feared situations or objects. The objective is to reduce anxiety by having patients gradually face each obsession directly, beginning with obsessions that produce the least anxiety, until all fears are confronted. Medication is also effective in reducing the intensity and frequency of OCD symptoms - and in helping increase a patient's comfort level with behavioral therapy. The majority of the drugs used to treat OCD are antidepressants, which help boost the brain's serotonin levels. Antidepressants approved by the Food and Drug Administration for treating OCD include: Anafranil, Prozac, Paxil and Zoloft. Studies show that OCD patients who respond to cognitive behavior therapy often report a 60-80% reduction in symptoms, while those responding to medication typically report a 40-60% reduction. Of patients who receive combined medication and behavioral therapy, approximately 70-80% show symptom improvement. Many OCD patients find support groups and stress management techniques such as yoga, meditation or the natural calming effects of exercise - especially helpful in the recovery process. Family support is vital as well. In most cases, OCD can be successfully treated with behavioral therapy and medication, but choosing the right therapist is key. For help with OCD, consult your doctor or a mental health professional.More »
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