Talking to Your Doctor About Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
Amy Scholten, MPH
A treatment plan should be based on your health and wellness goals. Talk to your doctor honestly about your concerns with OCD and treatment. An active role in your care will help to reach best outcomes.
General Tips for Gathering Information
Here are some tips that will help:
- Bring someone else with you. They may hear something you miss or think of other questions to ask.
- Write out your questions ahead of time. This will make sure you don't forget them.
- Write down the answers you get. Make sure you understand what you are hearing. Repeat important information back to the doctor in your own words. This will help to make sure you understand it.
- Don't be afraid to ask your questions. Ask where you can find more information. You have a right to know.
Specific Questions to Ask Your Doctor
About Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
Let your doctor know about symptoms and any day to day problems you are having. Be honest. This information will help the doctor make a plan.
If your doctor thinks OCD is possible, feel free to ask:
- Could I have a different illness? Can I have a checkup to be sure?
- Have you treated other people with OCD? If not, can you give me the name of another doctor who has?
About Treatment Options
- What treatments are there for OCD?
If I take medicine:
- How long will it take to work?
- How will it help me?
- What side effects should I look for?
- Should I try counseling?
What type do you recommend?
Are there any
alternative or complementary therapies
I should try?
You can talk to a counselor before you begin treatment. This will help you find a counselor whom you feel comfortable with. Some questions to ask are:
- What is your training? Do you have experience with OCD?
- What is your basic treatment plan for OCD?
- How long does treatment last?
- How long is each session? How often would I come?
- Is my health insurance accepted?
About Lifestyle Changes
What day to day habits can ease anxiety and stress?
Should I make changes in my diet or exercise? Are there other steps that may help?
- What is the best way to start these habits?
- What are my chances of recovery with treatment? What may happen without treatment?
- How often does OCD come back? What can I do to prevent it from coming back?
International OCD Foundation
website. Available at:
Accessed January 13, 2020.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/obsessive-compulsive-disorder-ocd. Accessed January 13, 2020.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). National Institute of Mental Health
website. Available at:
https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/obsessive-compulsive-disorder-ocd/index.shtml. Accessed January 13, 2020.
Tips for talking to your doctor. Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians website. Available at:https://familydoctor.org/tips-for-talking-to-your-doctor. Accessed January 13, 2020.
Last reviewed May 2020 by Adrian Preda, MD
Last Updated: 7/29/2020