Medication for OCD, Yay or Nay?! | Part 1: MYTHBUSTING!

Medication for OCD, Yay or Nay?! | Part 1: MYTHBUSTING!

Hello YouTube! I’m Inés, this is Squeak Code
and I’m very excited because for the next few weeks we’re going to be talking about
medication. A lot of people ask me: “Hey, should I take
medication for my OCD?” and, on the one hand, I’m not really qualified to answer that question
because I’m a fellow sufferer as opposed to a GP or a mental health professional and most
likely I don’t know very much about you or your medical history, so definitely a conversation
to have with your GP, mental health professional etcetera BUT my short answer would be “It depends”
My long answer would be, if the combination of side effects and inconveniences from the
medication in combination with the alleviation of symptoms that it causes is better than
your current state, then yes. However, so many of these variables are actually hard
to predict without taking the medication that the answer is still the same, “It depends”. That said, in the video today I am going to
be talking about some situations in which medication might be a good idea, some of the
cons to it and most importantly, some of the myths and misconceptions that surround the
whole idea of taking medication for mental illness which I think is the primary deterrent
for people who might want to take it and might be very good candidates for it. For whom is medication a good idea?
I think there are two situations in which medication can be extremely helpful, A) people
who are on long waiting lists for psychotherapy and it serves as a “crutch” or a form of symptom
alleviation until they are able to receive their treatment and B) people who have OCD
that is so severe and anxiety levels that are so high that even whilst they are receiving
CBT and ERP they are actually unable to assimilate it because their OCD is actively interfering
with it, and in this case the combination of psychotherapy and medication can do wonders.
On the other hand, there are also cons to medication. I’m only going to name two today,
and my following videos will perhaps cover a bit better what you might expect from medication,
but the main two ones are: A) Money – you may be lucky to live in a country
that subsidises healthcare for instance here in the UK we pay a flat prescription price
for every medication that is prescribed by a GP, and in Spain we have heavily subsidised
healthcare, so we pay a reduced price but not a flat one for medications that we buy.
However, I appreciate that this is not the case in every country and medication might
be costly, especially as it can generally be a long term commitment. On the other hand,
the other downside to medication is that there are inevitably side effects, but they are
so highly individual to each person so you don’t actually know how you are going to respond
to it, but more on this on another video! And finally, we get onto the juicy part of
this video which is the mythbusting, that is, what are the myths that surround medication
that people believe and may deter them from taking them. The biggest one is addiction
– many people are afraid they are going to become addicted (or build up tolerance) to
the pills. SSRIs or Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors which is the first line of medication
used to treat OCD are not addictive (and don’t build tolerance). Addiction means (actually
I define tolerance, sorry) that you are going to require an ever-increasing dose of the
medication in order to attain the same effect. On the other hand, what they do cause is dependence.
What that means is that you simply can’t stop cold turkey, they have a cumulative effect
that builds up over the course of a few weeks so coming off them suddenly does mean that
you may experience withdrawal symptoms which can be very unpleasant. Therefore, when you
are going to discontinue them it is advised for the dose to be gradually lowered. But
it is not the same as addiction (nor tolerance…). When hearing about dependence, then some people
get worried that “What if I’m going to be on them forever?!”, and again, I wouldn’t
go into taking them assuming that is going to be what happens, the amount of time that
each person stays taking medication is highly individual and it depends a lot on their situation,
whether they receive CBT and ERP as well, and of course it is possible, it is entirely
possible to be on the medication, to come off and maybe to require it again sometime
in the future, there is no shame in that. The guideline which I was told by my GP was
until I was better plus six months, and as you can tell, that will probably be at least
several months, maybe even a few years for some people but it doesn’t necessarily mean
you are going to be dependent on them for the rest of your life. Some people are also afraid that “taking a
pill is going to change me as a person”. Mmm… I guess it depends on what you mean by changing
as a person – for me that means that is going to change your personality, your morality
or your (core) beliefs, and that is not something that the SSRIs can do. It will affect your
feelings, it does have side effects, so you may be sleepier, you may feel more numb and
you may feel irritable, so it does have some mental side effects which for some people
only occur at the beginning, for some people they may be more prevalent, which means that
medication may not be the best fit – however, when you come off them generally within a
few weeks all of the side effects disappear. They aren’t permanent, it’s really balancing
out whether deal with the side effects you may have or just with the OCD symptoms. But
it won’t change you as a person. “Will the pills make me happy??!” Some people
also think that immediately taking an SSRI or medication for OCD will automatically get
rid of all of the thoughts and make you happy. Unfortunately this isn’t the case, the effect
is gradual and it works more by tackling the anxiety and the negative emotions as opposed
to polarising it in the opposite way, in my next video I’ll be explaining more about what
you might expect from taking medication for OCD, but it is not “a Happy Pill”, it is rather
a “don’t get too anxious and sad pill”! Some people do describe it as ‘going numb’, or
their emotions being pulled out of the negative state but not necessarily being pulled high
into a positive state. And the biggest one, there is the notion out
there that having to take medication in order to cure a mental illness means that the person
with the condition is weak. Honestly, I disagree with that because mental illness is inherently
the result of a chemical imbalance or a physiological imbalance, which in this case occurs in the
brain and results in these mental health symptoms. It is completely akin to someone who has a
more “physical” disorder, for instance, someone with diabetes might have trouble regulating
their blood sugar levels and in producing insulin, so in this case they would take insulin
as medication in order to regulate it. It really is not any different in that way. A
person isn’t weak for having to take medication for a mental illness, it actually helps them
regulating what is unregulated at the time and it is not something that is generally
solvable by “GETTING OVER IT”, or “FOCUSING REALLY HARD ON BEING HAPPY!!” because that
is not how it works. If only it did because trust me, everyone would make that choice. So yeah, I hope you enjoyed this video, hopefully
you learnt something new but if you didn’t, hey, that meant you didn’t believe any of
these myths I’ve been telling you about and please stay tuned because I’m going to be
releasing more videos to do with medication and OCD over the next few weeks. Please subscribe
if you’d like to be notified of when I upload new videos, I also have links to Facebook
pages and other social media links to do with my channel if you’re interested, and of course,
most importantly, I am very open to questions to do with OCD or Tourette’s or anything else
that you may be concerned with so feel free to write them down below or send me an e-mail
to [email protected] I really love hearing from everybody so please don’t be shy! Thank
you so much for watching, and I’ll see you next week!


15 thoughts on “Medication for OCD, Yay or Nay?! | Part 1: MYTHBUSTING!”

  • Smells like Blackberries says:

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  • Medication is very damaging long term, All it will do is reduce your symptoms wont address the root cause of the problem. Medication can be used as a last resort for the short term if the symptoms prevent the person from functioning at all. But to be honest you are better off introducing good nutrition, exercise and CBT these will aid the body and mind better than medication ever will.

  • Odelette Blue says:

    Flovoxamin caused me a very rare reaction, it was a nightmare my body started to sake weirdly on the left side starting from my lips down to my left arm and leg.
    The doctor stopped me from taking it and prescribed a TCA..

  • It's funny how people have to say they are not a doctor. But I think your testimony is just as important,50 per cent patient 50 per cent doctor and there you go. Personally myself I'll go for the patient especially when she's a pretty lady!

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