New OCD Treatment
OCD is defined by the presence of obsessions, compulsions or both. Obsessions are defined as recurrent, persistent thoughts that are intrusive and unwanted. They can include things like fear of dirt, fear of causing harm to another, fear of thinking evil thoughts, and the need (obsession) for order, symmetry, or exactness. Those suffering from OCD often attempt to ignore or suppress such thoughts, but find it difficult to do so. Compulsions are defined as behaviors or mental acts that the person feels driven to perform in response to an obsession. These compulsions can be attempts at reducing anxiety/distress, but are excessive.
Roughly one-third of patients with OCD do not experience significant clinical benefit from first-line interventions such as pharmacotherapy with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) or cognitive behavioral therapy.
Furthermore, OCD patients typically experience the full treatment benefits of first-line interventions only after a time lag of two to three months. This delay in symptom relief is a cause of substantial morbidity and decreased quality of life in OCD patients.
Evidence from neuroimaging, genetic and pharmacological studies support the importance of glutamate abnormalities in the pathogenesis of OCD. Ketamine is a NMDA receptor antagonist that increases levels of glutamate within the system, leading to rapid improvement of OCD symptoms.