Ketamine 101
June 23, 2023

Psychedelic Therapy: An Alternative for OCD and Intrusive Thoughts

Intrusive thoughts can range from mild to extremely overwhelming. While everyone has intrusive thoughts from time to time, when they begin to fill your mind on a regular basis, interfere with normal activities, and start leading to compulsions, you may be suffering from a condition known as Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). 

It’s common to hear jokes about someone who likes cleanliness and order as ‘being OCD’, but this is far from the truth. Individuals suffering from OCD experience a variety of distressing thoughts about different subjects, which then often create compulsions - repetitive or unwanted actions a person is compelled to enact to try to relieve anxiety or intrusive thoughts.

Sadly, many people suffering from undiagnosed OCD don’t tell their doctors or therapists about their struggles. Sometimes, the intrusive thoughts can be violent or disturbing, causing feelings of shame, self-judgment, and embarrassment. If you’re experiencing distressing thoughts, please speak up. There’s nothing shameful about asking for help. Please speak with a doctor, therapist, or one of our clinicians, who are knowledgeable about mental health conditions and want to help.

Symptoms of OCD

Symptoms of OCD can occur on their own or appear alongside other mental health struggles. Other co-occurring conditions are often Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and eating disorders like Anorexia and Bulimia.

Generally, OCD is connected to the following categories of intrusive thoughts and compulsions:

Please remember that intrusive thoughts aren’t warning signs or a reflection of who you are. They are simply thoughts, which are constantly arising and leaving in our minds. Problems arise when thoughts become ‘stuck’ and create so much distress that our well-being and life are then affected. Even though you may have no desire to act on intrusive thoughts and may try to resist compulsions, they can take over, hurting your quality of life and relationships.

OCD and Ketamine Therapy

Traditional treatments for OCD involve anxiety medications and antidepressants to help regulate GABA and Serotonin levels, which ideally aid in curbing intrusive thinking. However, these treatments don’t work for everyone. In fact, less than a third of patients will find relief from traditional medications. Many can find relief through counseling, but it can sometimes take years of consistent effort to see progress.

Psychedelic therapy is a new treatment modality being studied for the treatment of OCD. Increased neuroplasticity, which enhances the brain’s ability to create new neural pathways, may offer help for stress-inducing thoughts and behaviors, especially for those who haven’t found success with other options. Research shows that individuals with OCD have increased neural activity in their brains, which is a possible source of unwanted thoughts.

These regularly recurring thoughts become strengthened and cemented into our neurocircuitry, which accounts for the difficulty in deviating from obsessive thinking patterns. Ketamine treatments may help reset our previously strengthened neural pathways, calming overactive neural activity so patients may finally be able to put unwanted thoughts to rest. At times, OCD symptoms have been shown to significantly decrease after only one or two treatments. If symptoms are very severe, once weekly sessions have been proven to be safe and effective

An additional benefit of ketamine treatment is the comfort and convenience. Online ketamine therapy can be done in your own home with the virtual guidance of a trained clinician, at your own pace. No need to travel to the office, schedule a ride home, or overcome the many mental obstacles we may face with OCD. Prescription ketamine troches will be delivered to your home and treatment all completed virtually.

Better U provides evidence-based therapies to help combat a multitude of life stressors.  Psychedelic therapy consists of breathwork, personalized programs, and medication (ketamine) when appropriate. If you’re ready to explore the options for improving your mental wellbeing and taking a step towards relieving intrusive thoughts and compulsions, start with our simple assessment. See if you're a candidate for our affordable online ketamine therapy. This treatment might finally allow your mind to reset and relax, allowing better thought patterns, better quality of life, and a Better U.

Dr. Sam Zand

Dr. Sam Zand

Co-Founder & Chief Medical Officer
Touro University of Osteopathic Medicine
Johns Hopkins University

Dr. Sam Zand utilizes expertise in neuroplasticity to help patients address the root cause of their problems and establish new ways of thinking. After initial psychedelic medicine research at Johns Hopkins University, Dr. Zand began treating patients clinically with ketamine in 2019. Dr. Zand teaches psychedelic medicine rotations to psychiatry residents, medical students, and is an advocate and spokesperson for the FDA-approved esketamine, Spravato. Training includes: general psychiatry, addiction recovery, psychotherapy, and has a passion for psychedelic therapy, crisis intervention, relationship counseling, and integrated spiritual therapy. He has merged his passions for lifestyle medicine, performance coaching, and entrepreneurship to establish platforms that build leaders and healers in the community. Crisis Intervention Training for the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, assisted with developing the Mental Skills department for the San Fransisco Giants, and recently initiated clinical trials at U.C.S.F. Dr. Zand is dedicated to increasing education to end the stigma that surrounds mental health topics, advancing the integration of psychiatry and psychedelic medicine, and making clinically proven, innovative breakthrough therapies more accessible for all.