The Yale Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Research Clinic has been at the forefront of groundbreaking research for more than 25 years. OCD awareness week is October 8-14, and during that time the clinic will continue to raise awareness of the disorder as well as help with the comprehension and treatment of the disease.
Director Christopher Pittenger said that OCD affects two percent of the population. Symptoms include a fear of being contaminated, making mistakes and hurting oneself or others. These fears are sometimes accompanied by compulsions to behave in very specific ways that alleviate the stress. Behaviors like excessive cleaning or elaborate rituals. While the clinic does not claim to cure OCD, they can help patients deal with their obsessions and lead more normal lives.
Testing new drug treatments
At the center, current research focuses on the brain’s glutamate neurotransmitter system. They are examining the neurobiological and genetic abnormalities in the brain with the ultimate goal of normalizing the irregularities. Researchers are studying the effects of Riluzole, an FDA-approved drug that is used to treat Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and Lou Gehrig’s disease, but may also help with symptoms of OCD. In trials, Riluzole helped about two-thirds of trial patients with OCD and showed promise as a treatment option.
Two new studies in the works
Over the next five years, the clinic will expand its research to include two new studies which will complement the current work on glutamate. One study will look at whether the different manifestations of OCD are different varieties of one disease or different disorders altogether. The second project is a biofeedback study which will aim for a drug-free way of alleviating the anxiety associated with OCD.
Source: Yale Daily