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Ketamine Therapy for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a mental health condition characterized by intrusive, unwanted thoughts (obsessions) and repetitive behaviors or mental acts (compulsions) that an individual feels driven to perform.

person sitting calmly

Symptoms of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Symptoms of OCD can vary in intensity and form, but commonly include:

  1. Obsessions:

    • Intrusive thoughts or mental images that cause anxiety or distress.

    • Fear of contamination, dirt, germs, or illness.

    • Unwanted aggressive or taboo thoughts.

    • Need for symmetry, order, or precision.

    • Fear of harming oneself or others.

  2. Compulsions:

    • Repetitive behaviors or rituals performed to reduce anxiety or prevent something bad from happening.

    • Excessive hand washing or cleaning.

    • Checking and rechecking actions (like checking locks, appliances, or switches).

    • Counting, arranging, or organizing items in a specific way.

    • Mental rituals (silent prayers, repeating words silently, or mentally reviewing actions).

  3. Emotional and Behavioral Symptoms:

    • Anxiety, distress, or panic attacks when unable to perform compulsions.

    • Spending significant time (an hour or more a day) on obsessions and compulsions.

    • Interference with daily activities, work, or relationships due to obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors.

  4. Insight and Awareness:

    • Recognizing that the obsessions and compulsions are excessive or unreasonable but feeling unable to control them.

    • Some individuals might have poor insight and believe their obsessions and compulsions are justified.

Traditional Treatments

Treatment of OCD typically involves an antidepressant agent and cognitive behavioral therapy.  

How Ketamine Therapy Treats Obsessive Compulsive Disorder


  • Ketamine treatment for OCD is thought to work by facilitating the growth of new neural pathways, placing the brain in a state of neuroplasticity.  

  • Neuroplasticity allows for our minds to create thinking patterns and engage in new positive routines that alleviate symptoms of OCD. 

  • Whereas traditional oral antidepressants typically work on OCD through serotonin neurotransmitters in the brain, ketamine treatment for OCD acts on an entirely different neurotransmitter called glutamate.  Glutamate regulates emotions, memory, neuroplasticity, and other cognitive processes.  Glutamate also stimulates the growth of new synapses (connections) between brain cells.  

  • Ketamine treatment for OCD is an innovative and newer treatment that works on OCD even in individuals that have not benefited from multiple trials of different oral antidepressants.

Why Choose Ketamine Therapy for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder?

  • Ketamine therapy may be a treatment option for individuals with OCD who have not benefitted from or not tolerated traditional oral antidepressant medications.

  • Ketamine does not have the same potential side effect profile as traditional oral antidepressant medications that often lead to patients discontinuing their medications. 

  • Ketamine treatment for OCD works more rapidly on anxiety symptoms and depressive symptoms than traditional oral antidepressant medications.

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