If they see that no disease has arisen from viewing the tissue, the therapy can move to a more provocative exposure, such as touching the tissue, and so on, until they overcome their unrealistic fear of contamination. For particularly anxious patients, this therapeutic approach is often combined with a drug that counteracts depression or anxiety.
A silver lining of the pandemic is that it has allowed more people to be treated remotely through online health services. “With telemedicine, we are able to treat patients very effectively no matter where they live in relation to the therapist,” said Dr. lack. “Without ever leaving central Oklahoma, I can see patients in 20 states. Patients don’t have to be within 30 miles of the therapist. Telemedicine is a real game changer for people who don’t want to or can’t leave the house.”
For severely disabled OCD patients for whom nothing else has worked, the latest option is transcranial magnetic stimulation, or TMS, a non-invasive technique that stimulates nerve cells in the brain and helps reroute neural circuits involved in obsessive thoughts and emotions. compulsions.
“It’s like the brain is stuck in a rut and TMS is helping the brain circuitry get on a different path,” explains Dr. Lack out. As with exposure and response prevention, he said, TMS uses provocative exposures but combines them with magnetic stimulation to help the brain resist the urge to respond more effectively.
In a study of 167 severely affected OCD patients at 22 clinical sites, published in May, 58 percent continued to improve significantly after an average of 20 sessions with TMS. The Food and Drug Administration has approved the technique for treating OCD, although many insurance companies do not yet offer coverage.
Where can I get help?
Bradley Riemann, a psychologist at Rogers Behavioral Health System in Oconomowoc, Wisc., said his organization, which has 20 locations in nine states, relies on treatment teams that include psychologists, psychiatrists, nurses and social workers to provide both outpatient and inpatient treatment to OCD patients as young as 6 years. dr. Riemann said too often that parents inadvertently amplify the problem by clearing a path for their child to avoid their obsessive fear and the resulting compulsive response. For example, they may routinely open doors for a child who is afraid of being infected.
Based in Boston, the nonprofit International OCD Foundation can help patients and families find therapists and support groups for people struggling with the condition. You can leave a message at 617-973-5801.