OCD Diagnosis and Medication Support in Ontario

How Can NPs Help?

Choosing a medication is a personal decision, and physicians are busy. You’ve got questions, we have the time to answer them (Without providing the reassurance OCD is looking for!)

You’ll find everything you don’t want to know on Google.  NPs will take a comprehensive look at your health, goals, and what matters to you, so you can make an informed decision about your recovery journey. 

Many individuals report OCD can interfere with the ability to take medication.  Contamination concerns, side effects, and the OCD voice can limit your ability to take a medication at all, or as prescribed.  Without giving into the OCD, together we can help you take this step to regaining your life from OCD. 

Congratulations! You’ve worked hard to get here.  Medication is not a life sentence. 

Medication Management

Exposure and Response Prevention is the gold standard treatment for those living with OCD; however, medication support may be required in some cases to help you through your recovery process.  Regardless of diagnosis, those living with OCD can now seek medication consultation and management at OCD North, allowing complex OCD to be managed under one roof.

Our NPs do not require a referral and are available to help children, adolescents, and adults.  They are primed to collaborate with primary care providers (family physicians) as well as mental health specialists, as needed. 

 

What is a Nurse Practitioner?

Nurse Practitioners are registered nurses who have worked in health care for at least 2 years and complete a Masters Degree in Nursing as well as a Diploma in Nurse Practitioner. With the additional education they are licensed to diagnose health conditions, order diagnostics such as x-rays and lab work, and prescribe medications. They approach health care with a wide view to consider not only your health condition but also you as a whole person.

Considering Medication is a Confusing Process

Knowing you need additional support to help you through the ERP process, but not knowing how your body will respond to medication can cause hesitation.  You may not be able to make a decision about medication because you don’t know all the facts; you just want to live a life free from the torment of OCD.

Considering medication for OCD?

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Regaining your life from OCD is hard. It's ok to ask for additional support.

While Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) is difficult by design, if you’re finding it difficult to adhere to ritual prevention (not engage in compulsions), medication could help.  Research supports ERP with or without the use of medication, yet for some, medication can help “turn down the volume” on the intrusive thoughts and compulsions, helping you to fully engage in overcoming OCD. 

Nurse Practitioners can help you feel hopeful about the future

NPs at OCD North are experts in their field, with specialized training in OCD-Informed Practice (OCD-IP) and ERP, adding tremendous value to a health care system that is increasingly difficult to navigate.

Nurse Practitioner FAQ

Can Nurse Practitioners Diagnose OCD?

Yes, NPs can diagnose OCD. 

How do NP Services Work at OCD North?

During your first appointment, your Nurse Practitioner will learn about the symptoms you experience, working with you to screen for symptoms of OCD. Your NP will ask questions about the frequency, intensity, level of distress the symptoms cause you and your family, and how much these symptoms impact your ability to function day-to-day. (i.e. at home, school, work, with social relationships). 

If NP diagnoses you with OCD, your NP will then explain what treatment options are available to you, including Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) and medication.  Collaboratively, you’ll develop a comprehensive treatment plan designed to meet your recovery goals.

 

How do NPs Diagnose and Treat OCD?

Through their assessment, OCD North’s NPs consider medical and family history, the content and severity of OCD symptoms and assess for comorbid conditions (such as depression).  Assessment for pediatric, adolescent, and adults living with family also includes family accommodation and considers factors such as the child’s developmental age and level of functioning (such as at home, school, and with friends).  

Treatment depends on many factors, and may include a recommendation for medication.  The client and/or family’s preference, treatment goals, genetic factors, symptom severity and pattern of OCD symptoms influence the NP’s treatment recommendations. 

 

I’m considering medication for my child, but my partner is hesitant. What should we do?

Unfortunately, there are circumstances where medications may be needed in the short-term to help gain better control over OCD symptoms and achieve their recovery goals.  This isn’t the case for everyone, but if you’re finding that there are significant symptoms of anxiety, depression, or other mental health concerns, medication may be a viable option.  

The decision to take medication is very personal.  Working within specialist guidelines for using medications in paediatric populations, our NPs are here to help review all of the risks and benefits to help you make a decision grounded in safety and efficacy, and work with you to stop the medication when appropriate to do so.

 

What is Medication Management?

Medication management encompasses the medication-related services that are required to help you achieve recovery from OCD.  From initial diagnosis to prescription and ongoing monitoring, NPs provide a comprehensive, individualized plan for recovery. The prescribing of a medication for OCD is done in consideration of your medication history, the half-life of the drug and the potential side effects.  Once prescribed, it’s important to follow up with your NP frequently to continue to monitor for side effects, effectiveness, and dosage.   NPs are also there when it is desired to taper down and off the medication once symptoms are resolved and if this fits within the plan of care.

How does medication work for OCD?

Medication management includes frequent appointments to fine-tune medication dosage and monitor side effects.  You may require a trial of more than one medication to find the best medication for you.  Be patient: for those living with OCD, response to medication is slow acting, and can take between 10-12 weeks to determine if medication is  working. Once you begin to experience relief from OCD symptoms, your NP may request you to remain on medication for 12-18 months.  

 

Can a NP support me if I want to get off of medication?

Once you decide to discontinue medication, it’s important to do so under medical care.  Abrupt discontinuation of medication can produce withdrawal symptoms such as gastrointestinal issues and fatigue.  You NP will guide you through the discontinuation process to avoid these symptoms.

What if OCD symptoms get in the way of medication?

Sometimes, OCD-related symptoms can get in the way of considering medication as part of your treatment plan.  Obsessions related to contamination, health and side effects can interfere with medication management; additionally, individuals may avoid medication due to the fear of developing more time consuming compulsions or rituals.  Your NP at OCD North will work with you if you experience any of these symptoms and want to consider medication as part of your recovery journey.  Remember: You are stronger than OCD!

How do I know if treatment is working?

Together with your ERP therapist, NPs at OCD North believe in a collaborative model of care and work together to monitor response to treatment and overall functioning.  If a family doctor is involved in care, your NP will facilitate dialogue with your primary health care provider, providing complex and comprehensive care to facilitate OCD recovery. 

Your response to medication will be closely monitored to ensure minimal side effects and maximum response.  Your NP may ask family members to monitor side effects daily (particularly for children), and frequent contact with your Nurse Practitioner. 

When is a medication consultation needed?

Many individuals and parents find medication can improve OCD symptoms and response to ERP.  Individuals and children struggling with any aspect of ERP, or living with another mental health condition, wondering how medication could affect their recovery from OCD, should make an appointment to discuss treatment options. 

How can medication improve how I respond to ERP?

Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) is akin to asking someone without OCD to face their greatest fear – over and over again.  It’s very tough.  Sometimes, medication can help you turn down the volume of the scary thoughts so you can face them with increased confidence.

Are Nurse Practitioner Services Covered by Benefits?

Some benefit plans may cover NP services directly or through a health care spending account.

How Much Do Nurse Practitioner Services Cost?

Our rate is $300 for the initial assessment, and $100 for each 30 minute follow up appointment. 

How often should I meet with my NP?

Your Nurse Practitioner will recommend a frequency that is dependent upon symptom severity, comorbidities and medication management.

The first step to your recovery journey is reaching out for help.  Schedule a phone or video consultation with a member of our team to learn more about how we can help.