A New Partnership for OCD Sufferers
Actify Neurotherapies and NOCD are partnering to make more treatment options available to more people who need them. Building off a shared mission to treat the whole patient rather than isolated diagnoses, NOCD and Actify are working to make evidence-based ketamine treatments for depression more accessible to people with obsessive-compulsive disorder, who are at high risk for comorbid diagnoses, including major depression.
What is OCD?
Obsessive-compulsive disorder is a debilitating and usually chronic psychiatric disorder in which recurring thoughts, urges, or images (obsessions) trigger anxiety. People with OCD are generally preoccupied with intrusive, distressing thoughts, or obsessions, which can be about germs, contamination, sexual identity, rigid morality, harming other people, or a number of other topics. Some have a need for symmetry, balance, or numerical patterns. They tend to engage in certain rituals or behaviors, or compulsions, which serve to decrease their anxiety temporarily but reinforce obsessions over time.
OCD is ranked a top-10 most debilitating disorder based on lost income and decreased quality of life, according to the World Health Organization. Approximately half of people with OCD do not respond to first-line medications and therapy, and an estimated 4 million Americans suffer from both severe OCD and major depression. Research has shown that severe depression can make cognitive behavioral therapy, the gold-standard for OCD treatment, much more difficult, and even less effective (Abramowitz). In a study conducted by the University of North Carolina, patients with comorbid OCD and depression who received OCD treatment without depression-specific treatment did not show a significant improvement in OCD symptoms, compared to patients who received simultaneous treatment for both OCD and for depression.
Who is NOCD?
NOCD is a mobile app that provides always-on, evidence-based therapy for obsessive-compulsive disorder; OCD-specific educational content; and a Group feature for people to give and receive support from others with OCD nationwide.
“We recognize about half of people with OCD also suffer from depression, and we’re confident our partnership with Actify will empower our community members with depression to find potential treatment options more easily.” -Stephen Smith, NOCD CEO and Founder
How is Ketamine Helpful for People with OCD?
A common course of treatment for people who are diagnosed with OCD might include first-line medications like selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) or serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) combined with cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) or one of its variants, like exposure and response prevention (ERP).
Many patients will benefit from a new medication or get the hang of CBT after a few weeks’ time, experiencing noticeably fewer symptoms. Some patients might need to work with their doctor to tweak the prescribed dosage, try a different medication, or practice more intensive therapy before they start to feel better. But about half of people who receive treatment won’t achieve a meaningful decrease in symptom severity, even after trying different medications or therapeutic interventions.1 For some of these patients, a comorbid diagnosis of depression might be inhibiting their progress in OCD recovery. For these patients, ketamine provides another treatment option that might help them get closer to recovering from depression and OCD.
We’re so excited to work with NOCD, and to help make innovative treatment options available to those who need them!
Ketamine Treatment: Everything You Need to Know explains how ketamine can augment the health care of the most challenging and difficult-to-treat patients.
Questions? Comments? Email firstname.lastname@example.org or reach out on social media: @actifyneuro.
- Bloch MH, Wasylink S, Landeros- Weisenberger A, et al. Effects of ketamine in treatment-refractory obsessive-compulsive disorder. Biol Psychiatry. 2012;72(11):964- 970. doi:10.1016/j.biopsych.2012.05.028.