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OCD, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, is generally a two part mental disorder involving intrusive thoughts and compulsions. OCD begins with intrusive thoughts. The intrusive thoughts are the “obsession” part of OCD, and can lead one to feel fear, disgust, anxiety, guilt or other distressing emotions. In order to relieve oneself from these distressing feelings, individuals sometimes develop “compulsions.” Compulsions are the part of OCD, which are defined as physical or cognitive behaviors that are performed most often in a ritualistic, routine way in order to relieve oneself from the distressing feelings brought on by the obsessions. These compulsive behaviors tend to relieve the stress or anxiety temporarily and will begin again when the intrusive thoughts enter one’s mind again. The intrusive thoughts or “obsessions” are typically not desired by an individual but they are incapable of controlling them. Patients therefore end up in a looping pattern, performing their compulsive behavior over and over again due to the repetitive intrusive thoughts. Some patients may also avoid certain situations or scenarios that could trigger their obsessions.
Symptoms of OCD can be difficult to detect because there are many routines that are performed by individuals that are not life intrusive. However, when routines become compulsions that interfere with work, social-life or day-to-day function, this can lead to a poor quality of life. Individuals with OCD may spend an hour to several hours a day suffering with obsessions or engaging in compulsive behaviors. These compulsive activities may need to be performed several times a day every day, and an individual is powerless over them. However, they are compelled to perform these compulsions because these rituals are an escape, and assist in reducing the distressing feelings caused by the obsessive intrusive thoughts. Compulsive behaviors may be a physical or cognitive activity.
TMS is a groundbreaking treatment that uses magnetic technology, similar in strength to an MRI machine, to stimulate underactive brain cells in the mood control center. This magnetic stimulation helps modulate brain neurocircuitry to relieve symptoms of OCD. The treatment specifically targets the neurocircuits in the brain which are known to be particularly affected by OCD. TMS for OCD is non-invasive, requires no anesthesia and is an outpatient procedure.