What is OCD and How is it Treated?

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) affects 1%-3% of all adults. Half of those diagnosed with OCD struggle with significant disability and 10% still have severe OCD symptoms despite pharmacological and behavioral treatments.  

If your OCD doesn’t respond to treatment, you have hope for overcoming your symptoms with transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). TMS is so effective that the United States Food and Drug Administration approved it as an adjunct treatment for OCD.

As specialists in TMS, the compassionate team at MindSet takes your treatment a step beyond the average. They offer personalized repetitive TMS (PrTMS), which follows a protocol they developed to help you move forward into a life free from OCD.  

What you should know about OCD

People with OCD have recurring obsessions, compulsions, or in most cases, both.

Obsessions

Obsessions are unwanted thoughts and mental images that you can’t control. You may repeatedly think you left the door unlocked or the stove on. You may have a constant fear of germs or an intense need to put things in a specific order. Your obsessive thoughts cause severe anxiety and ongoing distress that often lead to compulsions.

Compulsions

Compulsions are behaviors or mental acts that you do in response to your obsessions. You have the uncontrollable urge to do something to relieve the anxiety of your obsessive thoughts.

Your compulsions are frequent enough to interfere with daily life, consuming more than an hour of time every day. Compulsions often follow the theme of your obsessions. For example, you may recheck the door over and over to be sure it’s locked or constantly wash your hands to eliminate germs.

Following your compulsions may temporarily relieve your anxiety but the intrusive thoughts will return. And if you manage to resist a compulsion, your anxiety skyrockets.

Treatment for OCD

The first line of treatment for OCD includes cognitive behavioral therapy and/or psychopharmacological medication. There are several different types of therapies and medicines. As a result, it’s common for patients to begin with one treatment, then adjust their regimen to get better results. 

This type of trial and error approach is often necessary when you take medications. You may need a higher dose than your initial prescription or in some cases, you may need a different medication if you don’t respond to the first one.

When your symptoms don’t improve after two or more treatment trials, you have treatment-resistant OCD. When you reach that stage, it’s time to consider TMS.

How TMS treats OCD

When you have OCD, certain areas of your brain don’t function up to par. TMS uses magnetic pulses to safely and painlessly stimulate the underactive nerves, restoring normal brain activity and alleviating your OCD symptoms.

We begin your treatment by mapping your brain activity using the PeakLogic ComfortScan™ electroencephalogram (EEG). We also ask you to complete a questionnaire about your symptoms. We combine this information to personalize your treatment, targeting your PrTMS to reach the precise areas of your brain that need stimulation.

Your initial course of PrTMS treatment lasts 6-8 weeks. During that time, we take additional EEGs. Each subsequent EEG gives us visual evidence of the changes in your brain waves. You can see the boost in nerve activity as you experience symptoms improvement. We also use EEGs to adjust the intensity of your PrTMS as needed for optimal results.

If you need help overcoming OCD and you’d like to learn more about PrTMS, call MindSet or connect with us online.

Author
Kevin Murphy, MD Kevin Murphy, MD | PrTMS Dr. Murphy has co-authored several book chapters and many abstracts and peer-reviewed articles. His work at UCSD has appeared in the Journal of Neuro-Oncology, Translational Cancer Research, and Practical Radiation Oncology, among others. He is a frequent speaker at both national and international medical conferences, having over 100 invited lectures in 23 countries. More recently, Kevin Murphy, MD has gained noteriety as a pioneer in the emerging field of transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), and has invented a proprietary, personalized approach termed PrTMS®. Over the last few years, Dr. Murphy has helped thousands of individuals suffering from neurocognitive disorders in addition to Navy SEAL veterans who have an interest in improving sleep and maintaining high-level human performance. As a proud Navy Veteran he is proud to be working with the military on the first clinical studies to formally assess the effect of PrTMS on sleep, focus, reaction time, and other human performance metrics.

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