The Science & Treatment of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) | Huberman Lab Podcast #78

In this episode, I explain the biology and psychology of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)—a prevalent and debilitating condition. I also discuss the efficacy and mechanisms behind OCD treatments—both behavioral and pharmacologic as well as holistic and combination treatments and new emerging treatments, including directed brain stimulation. I explain the neural circuitry underlying repetitive “thought-action loops” and why in OCD, the compulsive actions merely make the obsessions even stronger. I review cognitive-behavioral therapies like exposure therapy and SSRIs, holistic approaches, and nutraceuticals, detailing the efficacy of each approach and what science says about how to combine and sequence treatments. I describe an often effective approach for treating OCD where clinicians use cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to deliberately bring patients into states of high anxiety while encouraging them to suppress compulsive actions in order to help them learn to overcome repetitious thought/action cycles. This episode should interest anyone with OCD, anyone who knows someone with OCD or OCPD, and more generally, those interested in how the brain works to control thoughts and actions, whether those thoughts are intrusive or not.

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Full show notes & links to peer-reviewed articles: https://hubermanlab.com/the-science-and-treatment-of-obsessive-compulsive-disorder

00:00:00 Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
00:03:01 Momentous Supplements, AG1 (Athletic Greens), Thesis, Eight Sleep
00:08:28 What is OCD and Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder?
00:11:18 OCD: Major Incidence & Severity
00:15:10 Categories of OCD
00:21:33 Anxiety: Linking Obsessions & Compulsions
00:27:33 OCD & Familial Heredity
00:29:10 Biological Mechanisms of OCD, Cortico-Striatal-Thalamic Loops
00:39:36 Cortico-Striatal-Thalamic Loop & OCD
00:46:39 Clinical OCD Diagnosis, Y-BOCS Index
00:51:38 OCD & Fear, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) & Exposure Therapy
01:01:56 Unique Characteristics of CBT/Exposure Therapy in OCD Treatment
01:10:18 CBT/Exposure Therapy & Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs)
01:22:30 Considerations with SSRIs & Prescription Drug Treatments
01:25:17 Serotonin & Cognitive Flexibility, Psilocybin Studies
01:31:50 Neuroleptics & Neuromodulators
01:36:09 OCD & Cannabis, THC & CBD
01:39:29 Ketamine Treatment
01:41:43 Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS)
01:46:22 Cannabis CBD & Focus
01:47:50 Thoughts Are Not Actions
01:51:27 Hormones, Cortisol, DHEA, Testosterone & GABA
02:00:55 Holistic Treatments: Mindfulness Meditation & OCD
02:03:28 Nutraceuticals & Supplements: Myo-Inositol, Glycine
02:09:45 OCD vs. Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder
02:20:53 Superstitions, Compulsions & Obsessions
02:31:00 Zero-Cost Support, YouTube Feedback, Spotify & Apple Reviews, Sponsors, Momentous Supplements, Instagram, Twitter, Neural Network Newsletter

The Huberman Lab Podcast is for general informational purposes only and does not constitute the practice of medicine, nursing or other professional health care services, including the giving of medical advice, and no doctor/patient relationship is formed. The use of information on this podcast or materials linked from this podcast is at the user’s own risk. The content of this podcast is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Users should not disregard or delay in obtaining medical advice for any medical condition they may have and should seek the assistance of their health care professionals for any such conditions.

Title Card Photo Credit: Mike Blabac - https://www.blabacphoto.com
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