Mental Health & Family Practice

OCD Treatment


Ketamine for OCD Treatment in GEORGIA

OCD is defined by the presence of obsessions, compulsions or both. Obsessions are defined as recurrent, persistent thoughts that are intrusive and unwanted. They can include things like fear of dirt, fear of causing harm to another, fear of thinking evil thoughts, and the need (obsession) for order, symmetry, or exactness. Those suffering from OCD often attempt to ignore or suppress such thoughts but find it difficult to do so. Compulsions are defined as behaviors or mental acts that the person feels driven to perform in response to an obsession. These compulsions can be attempts at reducing anxiety/distress but are excessive. Looking for OCD treatment in Atlanta? Roughly one-third of patients with OCD do not experience significant clinical benefit from first-line interventions such as pharmacotherapy with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) or cognitive behavioral therapy. Furthermore, OCD patients typically experience the full treatment benefits of first-line interventions only after a time lag of two to three months. This delay in symptom relief is a cause of substantial morbidity and decreased quality of life in OCD patients. Evidence from neuroimaging, genetic and pharmacological studies support the importance of glutamate abnormalities in the pathogenesis of OCD. Ketamine is a NMDA receptor antagonist that increases levels of glutamate within the system, leading to rapid improvement of OCD symptoms. Contact us today to learn more about Ketamine infusions and how they may help you find relief.

What is Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder?

Obsessive-compulsive disorder, or OCD, is a mental illness that manifests as a pattern of irrational fears and unreasonable thoughts (obsessions) that lead to repeated patterns (compulsions). Repeated hand washing, continually checking to make sure doors are locked, or that you’ve turned the oven off are just a few examples of common OCD compulsions. These repeated compulsions can even interfere with daily life activities and cause problems at home, work or school. Approximately one in forty adults in the United States (that’s about 2.3 percent of the population) and one in one hundred children have this condition. Here are a few other interesting OCD facts according to the National Anxiety Association:
  • It affects women and men equally
  • It can start at any age
  • It may be genetically inherited
  • Symptoms may go away, remain the same or worsen
  • Left untreated, the symptoms may continue for years
It is also not uncommon for a person with OCD to also have other mental health conditions such as clinical depression, anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder, Tourette’s syndrome, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or panic attacks. The persistent symptoms of OCD may make you feel hopeless, but it is important to remember that even the worst cases of OCD can still be treated. There is nothing shameful in seeking help for OCD, especially if your symptoms are preventing you from performing average, everyday tasks.Treatment for OCD can take many different forms. Some may find medication helpful, but others may turn to psychotherapy. Others still may find general lifestyle changes helpful in addition to their main treatment. That being said, OCD varies from person to person, and there is no one treatment that will work for every case. You stand the best chance at finding a treatment that works for you if you educate yourself as much as possible on not only your own OCD symptoms but also on the common treatments of OCD.

What are the symptom subtypes of OCD?

  • Contamination Obsession with Washing and Cleaning Compulsion: Characterized by intrusive thoughts about contamination and compulsions of excessive cleaning or washing.
  • Harm Obsessions with Checking Compulsions: Characterized by obsessive thoughts about possible harm to yourself or others, and compulsions involving checking rituals to relieve your distress.
  • Symmetry Obsessions with Ordering/Arranging/Counting Compulsions: Characterized by obsessive thoughts about symmetry and compulsions to make everything orderly until they are “just right”.
  • Obsessions without Visible Compulsions: Characterized by intrusive thoughts about religious, sexual, or aggressive themes. Triggers related to these themes are typically avoided as much as possible.
  • Hoarding: Characterized by obsessive fears of losing items or possessions that you may need one day.

Lifestyle Changes That Help OCD

Medication can help treat OCD but is more effective when paired with therapy or lifestyle changes. Here are some examples of healthy lifestyle changes you can make:
  • Identify what triggers your OCD. Figuring out what is triggering your OCD symptoms can help you anticipate your urges before they happen. If you know what triggers your urges, you can try to ease your compulsions.
  • Try to resist OCD compulsions. By persistently exposing yourself to the things that trigger your OCD, you can slowly learn to resist the compulsions and rituals. One common exercise is called the “fear ladder”, where you work up to your triggers one at a time (as if climbing a ladder, rung-by-rung).
  • Challenge your obsessions. When an intrusive or obsessive thought comes across, ask yourself questions. “Is there any evidence that this obsessive thought is true?”, or “Will this obsessive thought help protect me from what I am worried about?”.
  • Exercise. Research has shown that regular exercise (between 30 to 60 minutes of physical activity a day) can be just as effective as medication. Exercise boosts important “feel good” chemicals in the brain, such as serotonin and endorphins, and also triggers the growth of new connections between brain cells. Even just half an hour of activity a day can start to improve your anxiety symptoms.
  • Nutrition. Even people without OCD should strive to eat well – it’s good for both physical and mental health. Aim to eat smaller, but well-balanced, meals through the day to keep your energy up throughout the day and avoid gastrointestinal problems.
  • Get more consistent sleep. If you are not getting enough sleep, you may find yourself irritable, grumpy, or fatigued. These mood changes can only worsen the symptoms of OCD.
  • Stress reduction. Stress may not directly cause OCD, but it can trigger symptoms or worsen the symptoms that are already there. Relaxation techniques like meditation or yoga may help you alleviate stress levels.

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