Treatment Resistant Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

While studies show that about 70% of patients respond to psychological or pharmacological interventions for OCD, there are still individuals with treatment-resistant OCD. The below interventions have been utilized to improve treatment response in those individuals who do not find relief in first line treatments for OCD.

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) is a non-invasive stimulation technique that has shown promise in treating treatment-resistant OCD. It is considered noninvasive since the procedure is done without surgery or cutting into the skin. TMS uses magnetic fields to stimulate nerve cells in the brain.

Deep Brain Stimulation

Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) is a surgical procedure where electrodes are placed into a specific brain region. These electrodes are connected to a pulse generator placed under the skin in the chest. This is a long-term treatment option. The settings of the device, and the placements of the electrodes can be adjusted according to patient’s response to treatment. This is considered an invasive treatment since surgery is required to place the electrodes.

Transcutaneous Vagal Nerve Stimulation

Transcutaneous Vagal Nerve Stimulation (tVNS) is a treatment option that has promise to enhance the efficacy of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy with Exposure and Response Prevention (CBT-E/RP). tVNS is a non-invasive technique that influences neuronal activity by sending electrical pulses to the vagus nerve. tVNS is considered a non-invasive technique and is delivered via an earpiece that makes contact with the tragus. The Department of Psychiatry is currently collaborating on a study to examine the effects of tVNS on CBT-E/RP treatment.