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What Vitamin Deficiency Causes OCD & Do Antidepressants Help OCD?

OCD is an obsessive-compulsive disorder. It is a condition in which irrational thoughts, ideas, desires, and unreasonable, repetitive behavior manifest themselves in a person. This condition can impact your daily life, work, school, personal and social relationships, physical and mental health to a great extent, diminishing your quality of life.(1)

What Vitamin Deficiency Causes OCD?

What Vitamin Deficiency Causes OCD?

Though the exact cause of OCD is not yet known, according to some studies, vitamin B12 deficiency is a leading and very easily overlooked cause of many psychiatric and neurological disorders, including OCD. While vitamin B12 deficiency is not the cause for OCD, it can be a risk factor for it.(2)

Do Antidepressants Help OCD?

Antidepressants are usually tried first in the treatment of OCD. Psychiatric medicines can help the condition of OCD by controlling the obsessions and compulsions. Antidepressants like clomipramine, fluoxetine, fluvoxamine, paroxetine, sertraline, etc. are recommended by the FDA in the treatment of OCD.

However, these are just approved medicines. Your actual need for medicine may depend upon your own symptoms and condition. There may be a need for other medications along with or without the ones mentioned above.

There is no complete cure for OCD. However, a correct and timely treatment approach can help you relieve the symptoms and control the condition, so much so that it does not interfere with your daily routine activities. While some people may benefit from a short-term treatment approach, many would require continuing medications throughout their lives, lead a quality life.

The treatment for OCD has two main approaches- psychotherapy and medicinal therapy. While these two approaches are very different, effective treatment usually comprises of both of these.

Psychotherapy Approach For OCD

Psychotherapy has proven to be very effective in many people with OCD. CBT or cognitive behavioral therapy is a form of psychotherapy that has proven to be immensely beneficial in OCD. A type of CBT known as ERP or exposure and response prevention therapy yields effective results, once it is practiced for long enough with patience and perseverance. With persistent efforts, you can improve the quality of your life significantly by controlling your thoughts (obsessions) and behaviors (compulsions). This treatment approach may be individual or with a family or group, depending upon many factors.

Medicinal Treatment Approach For OCD

Most times, medications related to psychiatry can help in controlling the symptoms of OCD. The most commonly used medications are antidepressants. Some of the anti-depressants approved by the FDA include clomipramine (not to be given to kids below 10 years of age), fluoxetine (not to be given to kids below 7 years), fluvoxamine (not to be given to kids below 8 years), paroxetine (only to be given to adults), sertraline (not to be given to kids below 6 years of age)

Your therapist, however, may prescribe other antidepressant or psychiatric medications as per your needs.

There are several factors to be considered while taking any psychiatric medications. The potential side effects include serious ones like increased suicide risk, especially at the beginning phase of the treatment. However, suicide risks tend to decrease over time with continued use of antidepressants. That said, if you feel suicidal tendencies, it is of utmost importance that you consult your therapist immediately.

It is also important to talk to your therapist before stopping any of the psychiatric medications, as there might be withdrawal-like symptoms if you suddenly discontinue these medications. Though antidepressants are not addictive, sometimes there might be a physical dependence on these medicines, which is very different from addiction, and it needs to be addressed, before stopping these medications abruptly.(3)


Vitamin B12 deficiency is associated with OCD according to some studies. While it cannot be said as a cause for OCD, its deficiency is surely a risk factor for OCD.


Also Read:

Sheetal DeCaria, M.D.
Sheetal DeCaria, M.D.
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Sheetal DeCaria, M.D. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:January 18, 2020

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