Meds for OCD? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 10 Old 06-15-2009, 11:15 AM - Thread Starter
 
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UGH. I'm in a place I really never imagined I'd be (again).

I have OCD -- for years and years and years I thought I was just someone who worried too much. It was always clear to others that I was an anxious person, but I hid about 90% of what was REALLY going on. Even when I tried therapy, I never told the therapists how bad I really was and how crazy I really felt.

It started when I was 12 (although there were signs earlier as well). I used to worry that I was pregnant (never mind the fact that I had never even been kissed, let alone had sex). I was afraid that someone drugged and raped me when I was at the bus stop or walking to the store -- and that I got pregnant. Then I worried that no one would believe that I was really drugged and raped and they'd tell me it was my fault. Then when I'd get my period every month, I'd feel about a nanosecond of relief and then start thinking about the story I'd heard about a woman who got her period the entire time she was pregnant. Every time I heard a story about a pregnant teen -- I used to think it was a sign from God telling me I was in the same position. This obsession continued until I was about 17 or 18 (so 5 or 6 years of thinking about it every.single.day).

Then I went to college and became terrified that I was really gay, but I didn't know it. Now, on the spectrum of gay-straight, I'm pretty damn far to the straight side. To this day, I've still never felt any desire or attraction for a female. Yet, I spent the years from 18 - 23 in a state of panic that I was really gay and was just repressing it. I monitored every sexual feeling I had to see if I was able to reassure myself. I knew in my heart that I was not gay, but I couldn't shake the fear. I spent about 80 to 90% of every waking moment thinking about this. Like my pregnancy fears, every blip of information about homosexuality seemed like a sign of God telling me I really was gay. 0

There have been more -- I spent several years worrying about HIV, despite multiple negative tests. I spent several years worrying that I was infertile and fearing my boyfriend (now DH) would leave me if I told him that my GYN suspected I had a fibroid. I spent several years worrying that he'd also leave if he knew my credit wasn't great. I've also worried that I was the driver in a hit-and-run accident and that I buried the body somewhere and then repressed the memory. The worries go on and on -- one of the most debilitating ones is fear of illness, which is where I am right now. I get into these places where I'm convinced I have some sort of horrible cancer -- in the past year, I've worried obsessively about colon cancer, ovarian cancer, skin cancer, and lung cancer. The compulsive part of the OCD is that I spend HOURS checking my body for signs or symptoms of disease and HOURS of time online reading about the diseases I'm currently fearing. Plus, I also have had times of really strong reliance on "signs" -- i.e., if the light turns green before I brake, then I don't have HIV (or I'm not, gay, pregnant, infertile, a criminal, ect.). I've even been known to go through intersections again just to test the "signs".

Like I said, I've been in therapy before but I've always hid how bizarre my worries actually were and, until recently, I'd never told anyone about my compulsions. My OCD has gotten to the point where I'm not able to focus on my husband or children (or anything else for that matter). All I think about is how to get some sort of reassurance and relief from my obsessions. Even when I may *look* like I'm not obsessing, I usually really am -- it's like there are 2 of me, the one who is having a seemingly normal conversation with you and the one who is in a state of pure panic on the inside. During my college days, this lead to a really severe bout with depersonalization -- that was an awful time.

So, like many people on MDC, I am disinclined to jump to pharmaceuticals. I rarely use them for anything else, and I generally believe that most ailments can be treated with nutrition and a decent amount of exercise. But - I feel like the amount of time and energy I would need to put into playing with my diet (which is already quite good) and taking extra supplements and getting enough energy is just beyond me right now. I am just tired of being worried, tired of feeling like I can't focus on anything, tired of not ever being fully engaged with my family, just tired of feeling this way. I want to feel better. I did use zoloft briefly, after my DD was born, to help manage some severe PPD (and what I now know was an exacerbation of my OCD). It was OK, but I hated the idea that I was taking it.

I have found a wonderful therapist and I'm doing work on that front -- she has a very spiritual and holistic attitude, but even she suggested that I may need some meds to help for a while and that I can worry about going off them when I'm stronger and have better insight and coping skills (from the therapy).

So, has anyone ever used an SSRI to treat OCD? Unfortunately, my insurance won't cover a psychiatrist (crappy policy) so I have to see my family practice doctor and I don't know how well-versed she is in this stuff. The good news is that my graduate degree is in behavioral neuroscience and I used to work in the pharmaceutical industry (which is exactly why I DIDN'T want to take meds in the first place). But -- I have a greater understanding of the drugs than most (at least with regard to how they treat depression and generalized anxiety), I just don't know much about how they're used for OCD.

Anyone have any suggestions?
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#2 of 10 Old 06-15-2009, 12:57 PM
 
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Zoloft is one of the best ssri's for OCD. I have OCD and took it for two years and it really helped me, along with therapy.

If you are only going to do the meds with no therapy, there are a couple of books I highly recommend. Jonathan Grayson has a good one, something about Living with Uncertainty... and then Brain Lock and Stop Obsessing! are two great ones. Also, Change your Brain, Change your Life will help you, that's by Daniel Amen.

Reading about OCD and seeing that others have it, deal with it, and live with it really helped me. Knowing that the worries I have are OCD and NOT REAL. That helps. They are not rational. I can work through them. I have been able to do things that I never thought I could do because of meds and therapy.

Read about it, research it, and I would advise meds just to get you to a place where you can be calm enough to see things for what they are.

Mom to two beautiful boys, now in school to be a therapist and help other women with PPD.  
 

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#3 of 10 Old 06-16-2009, 04:42 PM
 
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I'm fellow OCDer and was on Zoloft for 9 years. I hated it. It made me feel like a different person - less in touch with my emotions and with people. I finally have found a naturopath who works with people with OCD! She did a neurotransmitter test for me and found out my levels are way off, but that my seratonin if almost completely normal (probably why the Zoloft never really did it for me completely). I'm not on 5-HTP and L Theanine and night and Balance D in the morning. They are natural and I am feeling more normal than I have in a LOOOng time. I've only been on them a month but am already seeing my compulsions getting under control. I would strongly suggest seeking out a naturopath and getting some neurotransmitter testing done. It made a world of difference for me.

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#4 of 10 Old 06-22-2009, 05:25 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mom0810 View Post
Zoloft is one of the best ssri's for OCD. I have OCD and took it for two years and it really helped me, along with therapy.

If you are only going to do the meds with no therapy, there are a couple of books I highly recommend. Jonathan Grayson has a good one, something about Living with Uncertainty... and then Brain Lock and Stop Obsessing! are two great ones. Also, Change your Brain, Change your Life will help you, that's by Daniel Amen.

Reading about OCD and seeing that others have it, deal with it, and live with it really helped me. Knowing that the worries I have are OCD and NOT REAL. That helps. They are not rational. I can work through them. I have been able to do things that I never thought I could do because of meds and therapy.

Read about it, research it, and I would advise meds just to get you to a place where you can be calm enough to see things for what they are.
Absolutely agree with the books to get above. I have severe OCD and tried many things to no avail. I hate taking Zoloft 100mg, but I do...mainly because we're TTC and I had to make the hard decision to weigh the risks and benefits of taking Zoloft. I've read some recent research about how under severe stress our bodies secrete chemicals that can cause m/c. I've had two in '08, not saying it was because of stress, but there is that possibility. I seriously had internal vibrations (from stress) everyday and lived in constant fear (the what-if's were driving me insane)

I've actaully done the neuroscience testing too and my seratonin came back extremely low so the naturopath put me on Travacor and Kavinace - I tried it, but found out I wasn't able to sleep-like for days. This scared me so much I finally decided the Zoloft was my best option right now. I'd say it's working about 30-40% for my OCD, but at least the internal vibrations have stopped. I struggle with doing my own form of CBT, like that in J. Grayson's book, but it's hard to begin. On an encouraging note...I have noticed it is getting a little easier, but I still have to consciencely (sp?) force the thoughts out of my head and really "get mad" at my OCD for robbing my life of happiness for the past three years .

I saw a website that I really liked for strategies recently. I believe it was http://www.preventyourpanic.com

Kate, Wife to DH and Mommy to a 5yo lovin' DS; three angels 4/08 9/08 3/10 in Heaven,
waitin' for my baby

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#5 of 10 Old 06-22-2009, 09:50 PM
 
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Quote:
So, has anyone ever used an SSRI to treat OCD?
Yes! And I LOVE it. I'm on Lexapro, and for the first time in years, I am free (or free-er) mentally than I've ever been. I can actually LIVE my life and enjoy it instead of pretending to be "normal" but being in a state of panic inside (as you describe).

SO much of what you describe in your post is what I've been through. Different worries, but the obsessive nature of the worries is the same. Constant, consuming, and sometimes irrational fears. It is awful.

I still have more worries than I think "normal" people do, but they are sporadic and controllable now. They don't take over my life.

I am all for trying natural means first, but an SSRI was the right choice for me.

Mom to dd (8), ds (6), and dd (1)

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#6 of 10 Old 06-24-2009, 11:54 PM
 
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If you had diabetes and diet/exercise weren't enough to keep your glucose under control, would you sweat whether to take insulin or allow yourself to suffer all that comes with uncontrolled diabetes including the mood instability?

If you had pernicious anemia and, by definition, were not able to get enough Vitamin B-12 through dietary changes, would you sweat whether to take a Vitamin B-12 injection once a month or suffer the exhaustion, immune deficiency, psychiatric symptoms and worse that come with pernicious anemia? Did you know that, before pernicious anemia was well-understood, many sufferers wound-up in mental hospitals?

Why would you consider denying yourself pharmaceutical treatment for OCD? Is a deficiency of insulin or Vitamin B-12 so different from a deficiency in seratonin and/or norepinephrine?

While I don't purport to know all that underpins your hesitation, I think much of the angst that prevents many people from getting treatment for psychiatric symptoms is based on a flawed belief that psychiatric symptoms are character flaws - that if they were only stronger or 'better' people, they wouldn't be suffering.

My advice - for the 2 cents it may be worth - reach for help and be grateful that it exists. Science will evenually unravel the physical causes of OCD. In the meantime, allow that it is not necessary to know all before accepting relief.
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#7 of 10 Old 06-25-2009, 09:05 AM
 
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Naturalyst-- fantastic advice.

Mom to two beautiful boys, now in school to be a therapist and help other women with PPD.  
 

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#8 of 10 Old 07-28-2009, 12:25 PM
 
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#9 of 10 Old 07-28-2009, 10:19 PM
 
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I don't want to jack your thread but...
I was diagnosed with OCD last week, I've been on Lexapro for a couple weeks for what we thought was PPD. I want to thank all of you braave enough to say you have OCD. I didn't believe it until the doctor made it abundantly clear and there's been a lot of anger/sadness realizing how long I've had this, how it's affected my marriage etc. So thanks again everyone.
peace (lol)
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#10 of 10 Old 07-31-2009, 04:37 AM
 
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It really just depends on the person, as far as which SSRI may help. I've had a great experience with [generic] Celexa.

Naturalyst-- right on.

Weirdo Mama to amazing Aurelia, age 9 & Ember Roslyn, age 3!
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