Obsessive-compulsive disorder is a remarkable condition. It affects around 2.5% of the population - one person in 40 - and yet is often hidden from view. Some symptoms can seem, to people without the disorder, like everyday thoughts or behaviors that are simply carried to an extreme. Others are so far removed from most people's experience as to be quite alien. This disconnect can be isolating and often leads sufferers to hide their symptoms - sometimes very effectively indeed.
I have directed the Yale OCD Research Clinic since 2007. This Clinic was started in the 1980s by Wayne Goodman, Dennis Charney, and their colleagues, and it has been a major site for research into OCD and related disorders ever since. Our current work, which is one of the things I hope to talk about here, encompasses everything from brain imaging to genetics, and from the development of new pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatments to trying to better understand patients' experiences, in all their dizzying variety.
This Blog will be an opportunity for me, and perhaps other members of the Clinic, to write about all aspects of OCD, and related issues of brain biology, clinical experience, and society. I hope that it will be of interest to professional colleagues, other researchers, patients and their families, and anyone else interested in OCD, and related conditions like Tourette syndrome, trichotillomania, and hoarding.
I hope that some of the observations I record here are of interest. I hope even more that the research that I will write about, in this Clinic and by colleagues around the world, leads to a deepened understanding of these conditions and to new ways of treating them - in time, perhaps even preventing them. Much suffering would thereby be alleviated.