The Yale OCD Research Clinic is dedicated to advancing our understanding of the brain changes that contribute to OCD, and to the application of this knowledge for the development of new treatments.
Many cases of OCD can be successfully treated with established medications – especially the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) – and symptom-focused cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). However, a substantial minority gets little symptom relief from these established approaches. Furthermore, many patients who do respond to medication or CBT are left with residual symptoms and lead constricted lives. New treatments, deriving from new understanding of the neurobiology of the disorder, are urgently needed.
Much recent and current research in the Clinic is focused on a new hypothesis of OCD: that its symptoms may, at least in some cases, result from an imbalance in the brain of the neurotransmitter glutamate. This suggests that medications that modulate glutamate levels may help those patients who get little or no benefit from established therapies. Indeed, recent studies from our clinic, and elsewhere, suggest that glutamate-modulating drugs hold promise for some patients with difficult-to-treat OCD. More details, and links to some of our recent publications, can be found in the for researchers section.