Articles About OCD from Lori Calabrese, MD | The Ketamine Blog

These articles about OCD (Obsessive-compulsive disorder) are offered to increase understanding and reduce stigma. OCD is a long lasting disorder where a person has recurring, repetitive thoughts and then related compelling behaviors or actions they feel inner pressure to take and repeat over and over…

The Obsessions are thoughts or images that illicit anxiety such as:

  • Fear of germs or contamination
  • Unwanted, forbidden, or taboo thoughts involving religion, sex, or harm
  • Aggressive thoughts toward others or self
  • Wanting things to be symmetrical or else in perfect order

Compulsions that follow the thoughts

In response to those obsessive, intrusive thoughts, a person feels pressure within to repetitively take these actions, or perform these behaviors. These behaviors may be

  • Hand washing or extreme and excessive cleaning
  • Arranging things or putting them in a specific order
  • Repetitiously checking something, like the door knob to ensure it’s locked or that the oven or iron are off.  Over and over and over.
  • Compulsively counting and recounting

Now, we all know that checking things, or counting, or handwashing are normal behaviors we all do, but it’s different for someone with OCD. This person:

  • Can’t control his thoughts or behaviors, even if he can tell that what he’s doing is excessive.
  • He still spends at least an hour a day doing these things. Sometimes far more.
  • He doesn’t experience any pleasure from these thoughts or behaviors. However, the thoughts produce anxiety, and performing the behaviors may offer a small relief from it.
  • These behaviors create troubling problems in his daily life

A troubling symptom that affects some people with OCD:

A tic disorder can affect this person in some cases, and can be a motor tic or a vocal tic. In the case of motor tics, the affected person may shrug his shoulders repeatedly, or make a facial grimace, blink his eyes, or jerk his head or shoulder. In each case these are repetitive actions.

Vocal tics include throat clearing, sniffing, and grunting.

All of these symptoms may come and go, may re-emerge in the presence of stress, and may seem normal to children and some adults. However, most adults understand that their behavior is abnormal but feel helpless to control it.

Neuroscience researchers work to find relief for these distressing symptoms.

Because of promising outcomes with IV ketamine combined with mixed results at other times, more studies are being performed.

Cause and Risk Factors

While causes of OCD are unknown, risk factors include genetics, brain structure and functioning, and environment.

As you read these articles about OCD, consider the symptoms and treatments available and we hope you’ll share your understanding with others who suffer.

OCD: Better Treatment Targets For a Happier You

OCD: better treatment targets can relieve this girl's intrusive and upsetting thoughts.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder or OCD is a term that is sometimes thrown around mistakenly. It’s sometimes used to describe someone’s careful behavior… you know, like careful organization, attention to detail, or a tendency toward cleanliness, which of themselves are actually normal behaviors. Many of us may be particular about these things without giving them a second […]


Revitalize Psychiatry: Disrupt – Include – Engage – Innovate !! – The APA 2019 Conference

Disrupt, Include, Engage, Innovate was the theme of the 2019 APA Conference.

I just returned from the American Psychiatric Association’s 2019 Conference in San Francisco. This is the 175th Anniversary of the APA, and look how far we’ve come. The theme this year was: Revitalize Psychiatry – Disrupt – Include – Engage – Innovate. and it certainly provided fodder toward those goals. It was an informative and […]

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The Oddities, Charm, and Suffering of Bipolar Disorder

This girl with bipolar disorder is making dangerous decisions because of mania and suffering of bipolar disorder.

“Though I am often in the depth of misery, there is still calmness, pure harmony, and music inside me.”  —Vincent Van Gogh May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and I’ve been thinking about how to disrupt the stigma of “mental illness.” It’s a term I don’t like – but it’s still used throughout the world, […]


Relieving Treatment-Resistant Depression By Treating Metabolic Deficiencies

Originally published in Brain & Behavior Magazine, July 2017 An important discovery has been made at the University of Pittsburgh. It raises the prospect that there may be an entirely new way of relieving major depression in people who repeatedly have failed to respond to existing treatments—people at elevated risk for suicide whose lives are often unrelentingly dark […]


Treating Mood Disorders: Is the Key Hidden in the CSF?

No Wonder Treatment Resistance Has Been Such a Mystery! Clue: Look in the Cerebral Spinal Fluid! A man in his forties, Greg had never experienced life without depression. Treating mood disorders didn’t seem to be his psychiatrist’s forte. (Oh boy…) At least not in his case. Every accomplishment, every failure, struggled for expression beneath the […]

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Ketamine Restores Brain Circuitry Damaged by Depression – FAST

Ketamine restores brain circuitry to bring joy to depressed people.

In a world where things go wrong and people get sick, every once in awhile something comes along that makes things right again. I’m talking about something that’s so dramatic in its solutions we’re tempted to call it a “miracle.”  But we won’t. We’ll call it a game-changer. Because IV ketamine treatment is changing history. […]

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Behind the Buzz: How Ketamine Changes the Depressed Patient’s Brain

The anesthetic-cum-party drug restores the ability to make connections among brain cells. The Food and Drug Administration’s approval last month of a depression treatment based on ketamine generated headlines, in part, because the drug represents a completely new approach for dealing with a condition the World Health Organisation has labelled the leading cause of disability […]


Cerebral Folate Deficiency and Its Impact on Treatment-Resistance

Man thinks alone on cold silent shore may have cerebral folate deficiency.

“If I see far, it’s that I stand on the shoulders of giants.” If you find yourself feeling alone and forgotten in your symptoms, feeling that there’s no one who really cares, please let me emphasize that there are hundreds, even thousands, of neuroscience researchers, medical doctors with PhDs, biochemists, psychopharmacologists, and psychiatrists who have […]