It is a very human thing to, at times, worry, ruminate, to experience self-doubt: “did I lock the door, did I give anyone this darn cold, what if ______” (fill-in the blank with any one of thousands of thoughts)? In most cases these episodes are infrequent, centered around a specific incident or situation, and our rational minds step in to interrupt the pattern and alleviate the concern.
However, if we are able, for a moment, to put ourselves in the worst possible moments of those fairly typical situations - the brief panic and dread followed by an uncontrollable impulse to immediately take action - and then extend that feeling, and experience it over and over again, we’ll have an idea of the trauma that Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, OCD, inflicts on those who suffer from it. It can be utterly debilitating for between two and three million Americans.
In this episode of What Makes Up Your Mind, you’re going to learn more about OCD, how to tell if you or someone you love may be challenged by it, and where to get help if you do. But most exciting, you’re going to learn about the ground-breaking research going on to understand how and why disorders like this one manifest in the brain, and about innovative work to develop fast-acting treatments which, in early trials, have offered near miraculous, temporary relief.
Dr. Carolyn Rodriguez, professor in Stanford University’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, is spearheading this research as director of the Translational Therapeutics Lab. Dr. Rodriguez was the first to investigate the use of Ketamine to treat OCD, and continues to test its possibilities as well as trials looking at the efficacy of MDMA, and Nitrous Oxide, or as most of us know it in the dental chair, laughing gas. As Dr. Rodriguez also tells us, new technologies give her and others additional treatment options such as Deep Brain Stimulation, and offer ever better insights into how these mental disorders behave in the brain.
Click to listen, and you’ll also find out how you can participate in these studies, bringing better treatments closer to reality.
To learn more about Dr. Carolyn Rodriguez, who also serves as Associate Dean in the Office of Academic Affairs, as Consultation-Liaison at the VA Palo Alto Health Care System, and Director of the Stanford Hoarding Disorders Research Program, visit her Stanford Profile
This is also where you’ll find links to her talks and publications including the book she co-authored, “Hoarding Disorder: A Comprehensive Clinical Guide.”
Additional educational videos by Dr. Rodriguez in both English and Spanish via the Stanford Center for Health Education: