Could OCD Medication Help Obsessions with Weight and Food?

By October 26, 2012

I tend to think in very black and white terms—i.e., I think there’s a perfect way to clean my house, brush my teeth, etc. I’m wondering if I have OCD because I have to do things in a certain way or I feel unsettled. Could going on medication for OCD help my obsessions with weight and food as well? I have to lose at least 60 pounds and have struggled with my weight since puberty, going up and down constantly. In my 20’s when I was at a low weight, I was on the brink of bulimia. I was over-exercising and taking laxatives for a short while to maintain my weight. Thanks. – Helen

Dear Helen,

Obsessive compulsive disorder is a diagnosis often associated with eating disorders. For both eating disorders and obsessive compulsive disorders, a type of medication in the class of selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRI’s) has been effective. For eating disorders, it works by decreasing obsessions about food, helping with satiety (feelings of fullness), and with modulating your mood. Higher doses of SSRI’s have been more effective than lower doses for both obsessive compulsive disorder and eating disorders such as bulimia. Medications can be effective for OCD and eating disorders, but the gold standard for either condition has been psychotherapy. To determine if you have either condition, consulting with a health care provider in your area would be a good idea.

Tom Scales, MD