SPRAVATO is now offered at Voyage!

OCD Treatment

OCD Treatment in Philadelphia, PA

Ocd treatment in philadelphia

Over the past century, treatments for obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) have rapidly evolved. Clinicians classified OCD as a distinct anxiety disorder in the early 1900s. Since then, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and antidepressants like tricyclics and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) have become mainstream therapy. However, this treatment is effective in only 40% to 50% of patients.

New research suggests that medically-supervised ketamine infusion therapy could help relieve a significant proportion of people with OCD. Ketamine therapy can be a life-changing experience with one infusion. In some trials, ketamine therapy led to an immediate recession in OCD symptoms.

About OCD

in the United States, roughly 1 in 40 adults and 1 in 100 children suffer from OCD. The first step to finding treatment for your OCD is understanding and learning more about your mental health condition.

5 Symptom Subtypes of OCD

Although OCD symptoms generally fall into one of these five subtypes, it is possible to undergo changes in the nature and focus of OCD symptoms over time.

  • Contamination Obsessions with Washing/Cleaning: Those suffering from this symptom subtype tend to ruminate on feelings of discomfort associated with germs/contamination and will wash and clean excessively.
  • Harm Obsessions with Checking Compulsions: Those experiencing this symptom subtype will often have intense thoughts regarding possible harm, either to themselves or others, and will use checking rituals to relieve their distress.
  • Obsessions Without Visible Compulsions: Those experiencing this symptom subtype will often have unwanted obsessions regarding sexual, religious, or aggressive themes. Triggers related to these obsessions are usually avoided at all costs.
  • Symmetry Obsessions with Ordering, Arranging, and Counting Compulsions: Those suffering from this symptom subtype may need to rearrange objects constantly. It can also involve thinking or saying sentences or words repeatedly until one feels it has been accomplished perfectly.
  • Hoarding: This symptom subtype involves the collection of items of little or no value until one’s living space is consumed with so much clutter it becomes nearly uninhabitable. This behavior is often sparked by obsessive fears of losing items one feels may be needed one day.

Obsession Symptoms

Obsessions are persistent thoughts, feelings, or images that trigger distress or anxiety. Those with OCD may try to alleviate these thoughts with compulsive behavior. Obsessions often get in the way of your personal goals and daily routines.

Obsessions Could Look Like:

  • Fear of contamination
  • Needing things tidy and symmetrical
  • Aggressive or horrific thoughts
  • Disturbing sexual or religious thoughts

Symptoms of Obsession May Include:

  • Fear of germs when handling objects others have touched
  • Overwhelming distress when objects are out of order
  • Upsetting thoughts of hurting yourself or someone else
  • Strong impulses to shout obscenities or act inappropriately
  • Avoidance of situations that can trigger obsessions to the point of obsession itself

Compulsion Symptoms

Compulsions are repetitive behaviors that range in elaborateness. Usually, these behaviors are intended to reduce anxiety accompanying obsessive thoughts. However, these compulsions often temporarily relieve anxiety and offer no intrinsic pleasure.

Someone with OCD may invent rules or rituals they uphold to control anxiety and obsessive thoughts. These compulsions are usually intricate and do not observably affect the problems they’re intended to fix.

Compulsions usually have themes, including:

  • Cleanliness
  • Counting
  • Orderliness or symmetry
  • Following strict regiments
  • Requiring reassurances

Compulsion Signs and Symptoms Can Look Like:

  • Repeatedly washing hands to the point of skin damage
  • Checking the same door to see that it’s locked
  • Worrying over whether the stove is off, even after many check-ins
  • Counting in certain patterns
  • Silently repeating a prayer, word, or phrase
  • Arrange your canned goods to face the same way

Risk Factors

Some factors that may increase the risk of triggering OCD may include:

  • Family history. Family members with the disorder can increase your risk of developing OCD.
  • Stressful life events. This reaction may sometimes trigger the intrusive thoughts, rituals, and emotional distress associated with OCD.
  • Other mental health disorders include anxiety, depression, and substance abuse disorders.


There is no single way to prevent OCD. Seeking treatment as soon as possible can prevent OCD from becoming more severe. Some people with previously treatment-resistant OCD have experienced great success with ketamine infusions, an innovative new treatment option.

How Does Ketamine for OCD Work?

Exactly how ketamine treats OCD and other mental health disorders are still under investigation. Recent evidence points to ketamine’s inhibitory effects on the NMDA receptor in the lateral habenula. The lateral habenula is a brain region primarily responsible for encoding negative rewards or anti-reward cause-and-effect relationships. Those with OCD show an abnormal regulation of glutamate. As a non-competitive NMDA antagonist, ketamine prevents glutamate from activating the NMDA receptor.

The inhibition of the NMDA receptor may cause a build-up of free glutamate, which then activates the AMPA receptors. When surplus glutamate activates the AMPA receptor, it releases a brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) chemical. BDNF, in interaction with the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR), promotes new neural growth. This new growth may reroute the brain from hyperactive areas associated with negative reward signals, thereby providing long-term relief from mental health conditions.

Getting Treatment

OCD can take hours out of your day, leaving you with less time for yourself and your loved ones. We’d like to give you that time back. Voyage Healing is psychiatrist-run with expertly trained therapists on hand. We have extensive experience helping those with OCD get their time back.

Contact us today to learn more!

Request An Appointment

"*" indicates required fields

Preferred contact method?*