Effective Treatment for OCD in Australia
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder that affects two to three percent of the population (more than 500,000 Australians). It usually begins in late childhood or early adolescence. People with OCD experience recurrent and persistent thoughts, images or impulses that are intrusive and unwanted (obsessions). They also perform repetitive and ritualistic actions that are excessive, time-consuming and distressing (compulsions). People with OCD are usually aware of the irrational and excessive nature of their obsessions and compulsions. However, they feel unable to control their obsessions or resist their compulsions.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (abbreviated OCD) is a serious and debilitating condition where one would suffer from obsessive thoughts, which are intrusive and persistent.
OCD usually includes both obsession and compulsions but it is also possible to have only one obsessive symptom or only compulsive symptoms.
Obsessions are repeated, persistent and unwanted thoughts, urges or images that are intrusive and cause distress or anxiety. These thoughts are often centred around a particular theme such as fear of contamination, difficulty tolerating uncertainty and the need for things to be systematic and orderly.
OCD compulsions are repetitive behaviours that you feel driven to perform. These repetitive behaviours or mental acts are meant to reduce anxiety. However, these compulsions may only offer a temporary relief and and are excessive and often not realistically related to the problem they’re intended to fix. As with obsessions, compulsions typically have a theme such as washing, checking, counting, and orderliness.
OCD can persist even when patients are treated with medication and psychological counselling. TMS has been approved in the US for the treatment of OCD and it is increasingly being used for patients with this problem. TMS Clinics Australia is the first service in Australia to offer the same deep protocols approved overseas to treat OCD.
About obsessive-compulsive disorder
What if we are keeping ourselves busy, overworking and feeling overwhelmed, just to feel comfortable?
We live in a world that glorifies overworking and fulfilling busy schedules, leaving little to no time for us to pause and process the impact this may have on our mental health. Statistics show that 34% of Australians work overtime. In addition, the average Australian works 319 hours of unpaid overtime a year - this is equivalent to an extra 38 hours of work a week. We are easily manoeuvred to operate beyond our time clock without considering the negative impacts it can have.
Finding time within our busy schedules to prioritise our mental health is highly important, yet many of us struggle to find this balance. This is reflected through statistics, highlighting that one in eight Australians is currently experiencing high or very high psychological distress.
But what does OCD have to do with our everyday lives?
OCD is a mental health condition that embodies two key symptoms: obsessions and compulsions. Obsessions are thoughts, images or feelings that are constant and reoccurring in the mind. Compulsions mimic the actions of obsessions as they attempt to rid the mind of obsessive thoughts. OCD can be experienced by someone through both physical movement and internal thoughts.
Obsessions may look like
• Fear of contamination
• Aggressive impulses
• Thoughts that you/others might be harmed.
Compulsions may look like:
• Repeated cleaning/repeated washing of hands
• Constant checking/counting items
• Arranging items to face in a certain way.
OCD can make it difficult for people to perform everyday activities. In severe cases, people with OCD can become housebound, which can interfere with the maintenance of employment, school, and/or relationships.
Recognising OCD and learning how to most effectively manage obsessive thoughts and compulsions is a different process for everyone. For some people, healthy coping mechanisms will be enough to manage OCD, while others may need to explore the many OCD treatments available across Australia.
Dedicating your effort into a positive activity like meeting with friends or picking up a new hobby is a healthy coping mechanism to combat OCD symptoms. It’s surprising but true, keeping busy may be an effective way to manage OCD. It can help the mind focus on something else, alleviating obsessive and compulsive behaviours or at the very least, making these symptoms manageable.
Basic lifestyle factors also play a role in this. Enough sleep, drinking water, eating healthily, and exercising all contribute to helping manage OCD symptoms.
OCD is treatable and seeking support from your healthcare provider is the first step towards recovery. The two main types of OCD treatment in Australia are psychological treatments (generally the first line of treatment) and, in some severe cases, medication may be prescribed.
OCD Next-Step OCD Treatments In Australia
Everyone is different and will respond to OCD treatment in different ways. For some people, first-line treatments and medications may not be enough to manage symptoms. The good news is that there are next-step treatments available, including deep transcranial magnetic stimulation (dTMS) which is a newly available therapy designed to treat symptoms of OCD.
About Magnetic Stimulation For OCD Treatment
Deep transcranial magnetic stimulation (dTMS) is specifically indicated for OCD treatment. The Monarch Clinic Australia is the first provider in Australia to offer this treatment which has been used internationally, and it has been found to improve the symptoms of obsessive compulsive disorder. Patients are usually referred for dTMS therapy when first- or second-line OCD treatment has not been successful in relieving symptoms.
dTMS therapy involves electromagnetic stimulation into the medial prefrontal cortex of the brain. This therapy achieves deeper and broader stimulation than other neurostimulation therapies.
A common element of dTMS therapy is symptom provocation, which involves activating areas of the brain by deliberately bringing on OCD symptoms prior to treatment. Research shows that symptom provocation can increase the benefits of dTMS therapy.
For information about dTMS and other next-step OCD treatments, speak to your healthcare provider. Your GP or another healthcare professional can help you decide whether a referral to The Monarch Clinic Australia is an appropriate next step for you.
Psychiatrist-led mental health service
Fast access to all services
Evidence-based, individualized treatment programs
Comprehensive process reports sent to the treating team
Initial consultation* with a psychiatrist bulk billed.
Medicare rebates available on all treatment programs
*Please note - only Monarch Group initial assessments are bulk billed. Accessing clinicians through our consulting suites will incur out-of-pocket costs.