Visiting a GP About OCD
Many people with OCD are reluctant to seek advice from a doctor regarding their symptoms. Because of this, many OCD sufferers do not receive an actual diagnosis for OCD, instead relying on self-diagnosing OCD based on their symptoms.Visiting a doctor about your OCD can have several benefits, including a firm diagnosis of OCD, a referral for psychiatric or psychological support for OCD and a prescription for anti-obsessional medication if these do not have a positive effect on OCD symptoms.This is often complicated by the fact that some OCD sufferers have a fear of contamination that makes them afraid of visiting a GP surgery or hospital, and this may prevent them from seeking treatment and support for OCD until several years have passed. This article offers advice on visiting a GP about OCD.
What to Expect When Visiting a GP About OCD
Telling your GP about your OCD symptoms will usually result in a referral. This will often be to a local Community Mental Health Team, if there is one in your local area. In some cases, you may be able to ask for a referral to a local Cognitive Behaviour Therapy service, but this may not exist in your local area.
Your GP may decide to prescribe anti-obsessional medication to help you to cope with OCD symptoms while you are waiting for your referral or receiving treatment and support. You may be prescribed antidepressants such as Fluoxetine (Prozac) instead.Most GPs prefer that you receive psychological or psychiatric support for OCD, as this is more likely to actually treat OCD (whereas medication will usually simply help you to better cope with your symptoms). The downside of OCD medication is the fact that symptoms will usually return if medication is stopped.
Not all doctors have a good working knowledge of OCD, particularly those who are not overly familiar with mental health conditions (including anxiety and depression). Because of this, you may find it challenging to persuade your GP that your symptoms are indicative of OCD. You may also find it difficult to talk to your GP about the disorder if you feel that they do not really understand.The OCD-UK website has a list of OCD guidelines from the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) that you can request and refer your GP to if their knowledge of OCD is lacking. The OCD-UK website also has a printout that you can give to your GP if you are unsure of how to start a conversation about your OCD. This informs your GP that you feel that you have OCD but are reluctant to talk about its effects on your life, along with some brief information about OCD.
Visiting a doctor about your OCD symptoms can have several benefits for OCD sufferers. For many, this is the first time that medical advice has been sought, meaning that this may be the first professional diagnosis for OCD. Visiting a GP about OCD is the best starting point for receiving psychological and psychiatric support for OCD.See our articles on “Psychological Support for OCD” and “Psychiatric Support for OCD” for more information on these forms of support. If psychological and psychiatric support does not prove positive, your GP may decide to prescribe anti-obsessional medication to help you cope with OCD symptoms.