The Best SSRI for OCD: How to Choose the Right Medication for You

If you have been diagnosed with OCD, you may be wondering which SSRI is best for you. There are many different medications available, each with its own set of benefits and drawbacks. It can be difficult to decide which medication is right for you. In this blog post, we will discuss the different types of SSRIs available and help you choose the best one for your needs!


what is OCD?

OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder) is an anxiety-inducing condition that causes excessive thoughts or urges (obsessions) and chronic behaviors (compulsions) that individuals believe they must continue doing over and over.

People who do not have OCD may occasionally experience unwanted intrusive thoughts, but they are generally able to acknowledge and overcome them. People with OCD, on the other hand, are unable to rid themselves of these ideas.

Common thoughts and actions observed in OCD instances include:

  • Checking and rechecking that things are completed (e.g., doors are locked)
  • Keeping things in a particular order
  • Being too careful about the cleanliness of everything
  • Having persistent negative or aggressive ideas

Breakaway from the rituals may be very frightening and distressing for individuals with OCD.

What is the treatment for this disease?

Many patients have reported significant gains after receiving the correct treatments. CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) can aid individuals in changing their mindsets and avoiding distressing thoughts, emotions, or behaviors. CBT is a form of psychotherapy that uses discussion and specific activities to assist people to become more aware of their negative feelings. Medications might also be used to boost brain chemical signals and curb OCD symptoms.

What medications are available for treating OCD?

There have been numerous studies dedicated to the treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). These drugs function by modulating different neurotransmitters in order to aid brain cells communicate more effectively. Similar to antidepressants and anxiety medications, these medications might take up to 12 weeks before patients see any improvement in OCD symptoms.

The FDA has issued a boxed warning for OCD medications, which are neuroleptics that have been approved by the agency. Because they may raise the risk of suicidal thinking and behavior, especially in youngsters, these medications are classified as having a boxed warning. If you detect any kind of unusual change in your thoughts or behavior, tell your doctor right away.


Selective serotonin-reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)

Because selective serotonin-reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) were initially developed to treat depression, they can also be used to ease obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). These medicines function by increasing levels of serotonin in the brain.

Serotonin is a chemical messenger that brain cells use to communicate with one other, and it also has an impact on your emotions and mood. SSRIs enhance communication between brain cells by increasing the availability of serotonin.

SSRIs, like other antidepressants, have both pros and drawbacks. They are less harmful than earlier types of antidepressants, such as monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), although they can sometimes cause hazardous responses. SSRIs can induce very high serotonin levels in a small number of people, resulting in “serotonin syndrome,” which is a rare but serious condition characterized by tremors or shakiness, elevated temperatures, changes in heart rhythm, and seizures.

However, nausea and an upset stomach are the most frequent adverse effects for most people. Lower sex drive and feeling too sleepy or having difficulty falling asleep are also possible.

We’ll go over four SSRIs that have been authorized by the FDA to be used in the treatment of OCD.


Fluoxetine (Prozac) is an SSRI that is used to treat obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), as well as other mental disorders such as depression, eating disorders, panic disorder, and bipolar disease. The medication is available in the form of a capsule or tablet to be consumed once daily, generally in the morning. It’s safe for people 7 and older with OCD.

Fluoxetine appears to be helpful in treating OCD symptoms, according on studies. Some research found that it had long-term benefits – as long as three years – if used alone or in combination with other medications. This is why the American Psychiatric Association suggests fluoxetine, as well as other SSRIs, as a first-choice medication for treating OCD.

Fluoxetine can cause the following side effects:

  • Sleeping difficulties or a feeling of tiredness that is greater than usual
  • Dry mouth
  • fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Appetite loss

The suitable person for taking Fluoxetine (Prozac) is :

A person who wants an SSRI that is available in generic form and also has been around for a long time so its effects are well-known.

A person with mild OCD symptoms.

A person whose doctor thinks that the lower cost of fluoxetine compared to other SSRIs might be helpful.


Fluvoxamine is a serotonin reuptake inhibitor that’s used to treat obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) in adults and children aged 8 years and older. It’s usually taken at bedtime, but larger doses may be split and ingested in the morning and at night.

A narrow research found that after taking fluvoxamine for 12 weeks, individuals with OCD experienced enhanced everyday functioning in terms of their emotions, social interactions, and general mental health. Although this study focused on the long-acting form of fluvoxamine, the immediate-release tablet can also be used to treat OCD.

Common adverse effects include:

  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Dry mouth
  • Weakness
  • Nervousness

You can take this SSRI if :

Your doctor thinks that the lower cost of fluvoxamine compared to other SSRIs might be helpful.

You want an SSRI that’s available in generic form and also has been around for a long time so its effects are well-known.


Paroxetine (Paxil) is an SSRI used to treat anxiety, panic disorder, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It’s only available for people 18 years or older and must be taken once a day.

Paroxetine is as effective as other SSRIs in treating OCD, according to research. Paroxetine produces greater weight gain and would not be the best choice for people with obesity or diabetes, in comparison to other SSRIs utilized for OCD.

Common adverse effects include:

  • Nausea
  • Dry mouth
  • Lowered appetite
  • Constipation
  • Dizziness
  • Sleepiness
  • Shakiness (tremor)
  • Sweating
  • Sexual dysfunction


Sertraline can be used to treat anxiety, including OCD, depression, panic disorder, PTSD, social anxiety disorder, and premenstrual dysphoric disorder. Adults and children 6 years of age and older can take sertraline once a day to cure their OCD.

In individuals with OCD, sertraline was discovered to increase quality of life and lower the incidence of compulsive behavior.

Sertraline may cause the following adverse effects:

  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Dry mouth
  • Fatigue
  • Trouble sleeping

Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs)

TCAs have been used for decades to treat depression. They improve communication between brain cells by affecting serotonin and norepinephrine in the brain. Norepinephrine is a chemical messenger that aids in the management of stress, attention, emotions, and behaviors.


Clomipramine is a tricyclic antidepressant that’s used to treat obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) in adults and children 10 years and older. The drug is taken once daily, typically at bedtime, to minimize daytime drowsiness.

Clomipramine has been shown in clinical trials to help patients with OCD alleviate their symptoms by roughly 40% to 50%. For individuals with OCD who do not get relief from SSRIs alone, providers may attempt combining clomipramine with an SSRI.

The most frequent adverse effects associated with clomipramine include:

  • Nausea
  • Weight gain
  • Tiredness
  • Sweating
  • Sleepiness
  • Dry mouth
  • Constipation
  • Dizziness
  • Shakiness (tremors)
  • Headache
  • Changes to libido
  • Sexual dysfunction

Side effects can range from mild to severe, including heart rhythm abnormalities, liver disease, and fits.

What is the best treatment for OCD?

SSRIs, especially when combined with CBT, are most effective at reducing OCD symptoms. If the one you’re taking isn’t assisting, the American Psychiatric Association recommends changing to a different SSRI. If SSRIs do not help cure OCD, TCAs such as clomipramine might be used.

If OCD symptoms worsen or fail to improve, clinicians may prescribe medications off-label to address the condition. VENLAFAXINE (Effexor), MIRTAZAPINE, and ANTIPsychotic medications including Risperdal (Risperdal), Olanzapine (Zyprexa), Quetiapine (Seroquel) are examples of alternative treatments.

Medication-free treatments for OCD

As previously said, CBT is often more effective when combined with medications for OCD. This therapy focuses on assisting patients in recognizing critical or negative sentiments and developing techniques to manage and control them.

CBT for obsessive-compulsive disorder comprises exposure and response prevention, which is a kind of therapy. It entails exposing people to things that elicit their OCD symptoms while also assisting them in uncovering healthy coping methods for these feelings.

Is it possible to cure my anxiety through diet?

Because chemical messages in the brain rely on adequate nutrients, nutritional deficiencies can have a detrimental impact on OCD. Protein-rich foods such as nuts, meat, eggs, and beans help your body obtain required resources. Proteins are broken down into amino acids, which are utilized by the body to generate important chemical signals that make you feel better. Consuming complex carbohydrates like whole-wheat bread and grains keeps your energy levels constant.

In extreme cases, drinking too much alcohol may aggravate obsessive-compulsive symptoms such as compulsivity or an uncontrollable desire to perform a certain activity. Some people with OCD drink alcohol to help alleviate their symptoms, but the benefits are only temporary and can make things worse in the long run.

What if OCD isn’t treated?

Untreated OCS can be quite hazardous if left unchecked. Because OCD harms your thoughts and emotions, it might be tough to focus on essential duties in your life. Untreated OCD can lead to other mental disorders, such as depression and anxiety. These sentiments may lead to suicide ideations in severe situations.


when should you need SSRI for OCD? Explain in great detail.

There’s no one answer to that question – it depends on the individual. Some people with OCD may benefit from taking an SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) medication, while others may not find that these medications help them very much. If you’re thinking about taking an SSRI for your OCD, it’s important to talk to your doctor or mental health professional first to see if this is the right treatment option for you.

There are a few different things to consider when making the decision to take an SSRI for OCD. First of all, what are your goals for treatment? Are you hoping to reduce yourobsessions and compulsions, or do you also want to improve your mood and anxiety levels? If you’re only looking to target your OCD symptoms, an SSRI may not be the best option. These medications can also cause side effects like headache, nausea, and sexual problems.

Another thing to consider is how severe your OCD symptoms are. If your symptoms are fairly mild, you may be able to manage them with therapy and self-help strategies without needing medication. On the other hand, if your OCD is severely impacting your life – for example, you’re unable to work or go to school because of your obsessions and compulsions – an SSRI may be a good option.

Finally, it’s important to think about what you’re willing to tolerate in terms of side effects. As we mentioned, all medications come with the potential for side effects. Some people are willing to put up with mild side effects like headache or nausea in order to get relief from their OCD symptoms. Others would prefer to avoid medication altogether if it means avoiding side effects.

If you’re considering taking an SSRI for your OCD, the best thing to do is talk to your doctor or mental health professional about all of these factors. They can help you make the best decision for your individual situation.

The bottom line

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a persistent mental illness that may severely limit people’s capabilities. CBT is used to modify habits and take medicines to enhance chemical messages in the brain to treat OCD.

SSRIs and clomipramine are effective in decreasing symptoms and enhancing the quality of life for individuals with OCD. People’s responses to these drugs may vary, and one medicine might work better for you than others. Because different SSRIs have various side effects, talk them over with your doctor to see which is the greatest option for you.