Medication

I’m curious what my readers think about medication. Do you believe that medicine is usually necessary to treat OCD? I ask because ever since finding out I have OCD, I think my obsessional fears have a lot less power over me — like just knowing where they come from has helped me become free from them — without medicine. That’s not all of it, of course, and I certainly still struggle with obsessional fears every day. However, they don’t control my life like they used to — the only problem is when a new one appears, I sometimes have trouble identifying whether it is a legitimate concern, or an obsessive-compulsive problem. People with OCD get accused of being upset over “little things” but they never feel little to us at the time! If they did, we wouldn’t be upset. If I had seen a therapist as a child, it’s possible medicine also might’ve been more necessary then, and would’ve helped me deal with my hand-washing problem before it damaged my skin too badly. As children we don’t know ourselves as well and our reasoning abilities are still developing to a great degree. But it’s hard to say in retrospect. I think most of the work really is cognitive-behavioral therapy, and I feel like relying on medicine too much is like continuing to use a crutch once your leg has healed — maybe for both children, and adults.

For Tourette’s (and other disorders) it’s different; there is no amount of cognitive therapy I can imagine taking my breathing tic away, so on days that it is really bad, I do wonder if I would be better off taking medicine. But I can’t only take it on bad days; I would have to take it every day, and that’s what worries me. Most days, it doesn’t interfere with my life that much. But I don’t envy people who have tics which do severely interfere with their lives on a regular basis, because I can very easily imagine what that is like, and I would not make the same “crutch” comparison because Tourette’s and OCD are very different in that way. OCD is a mental disorder, so to some extent many people can think their way out of it — but Tourette’s is about physical urges, and you can’t really think your way out of that. Imagine trying to think your way out of blinking or breathing when you felt like you needed to! It would be hard, and sometimes you blink or breathe without thinking. That’s the interesting thing about tic disorders — they’re a manifestation of a very normal body process that probably had a great evolutionary purpose. It’s pretty darn convenient that most of the time, we breathe without thinking about it. It’s just that people with tics do OTHER things without thinking about it, too.

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9 thoughts on “Medication

  1. My son was on a lot of meds for his severe OCD. They harmed him and did not help at all. In fact, some of the drugs even made his OCD worse.In his case, CBT, specifically ERP Therapy saved his life.

    • willitbeok says:

      Interesting. I often wonder how many people are over-medicated or rely on it too much for help that CBT would be so much better for. I try not to be anti-medicine, just cautious — and I realize that caution is a hallmark of OCD, so it’s hard to get some people to understand. But I really believe in caution in this case.

  2. nwhyatt1986 says:

    I was given one medication to help with the Tourette’s when I first became dianosed (9 years ago), but it didn’t turn out well, and I was forced to stop. After that experience, I became spooked out of others, and have tried ways of coping.

    • willitbeok says:

      Thanks for the comment. I’ve wondered sometimes if lots of kids (or adults, even) get medication for things like TS more because the tics are bothersome for others than for the person him or herself. I’m pretty used to my tics, so they usually only bother me because of the way others react.

      • nwhyatt1986 says:

        That is why I gave the medication a chance. When it didn’t work out my doctor actually told me if anyone complains about my noise I should tell them to ‘f off and get a real life’. A bit shocked at the unprofessional response, but I understood what he was trying to say. Why should we suffer so others (like those who care not to learn about TS/OCD) don’t have to? I grew up believing I was a burden, adulthood is about believing bullies are the real burden.

      • willitbeok says:

        Haha, that’s great! Sounds like a good doctor. Or at least he was right on the money about that. You’re right, bullies are the real burden.

  3. ocdfighter1 says:

    I’ve been on medication for 4 years. The first one I tried worked. Before taking them, I couldn’t get off my bed easily and I saw “triggers” everywhere. It was hard for me to dismiss my intrusive thoughts, on which I obsessed everywhere I went. By the way, I don’t see meds as a crutch, but as a tool for achieving recovery and maintaining it, although in combination with therapy.

    • willitbeok says:

      I want to be clear that I didn’t mean to be insulting by calling it a “crutch”. It’s perfectly reasonable to need a crutch when we’re injured. And I’m sure that some people have less control over their obsessions than others.

      Sometimes it can be hard to maintain recovery. My OCD tells me things like, “You think you’ve been good not doing this compulsion for so long, but actually something bad is really going to happen” over and over once I think I finally have it beat, and I know it’s something that will probably never go away… so I can understand wanting/needing medication. And I definitely like hearing different opinions about treatment, so it’s good to have your input.

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