The Science & Treatment of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) | Huberman Lab Podcast #78

In this episode, I explain the biology and psychology of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)—a prevalent and debilitating …


  1. "Thoughts are not as bad as actions"
    "Thoughts are just thoughts"
    I have a catholic religious background since I was born, and some religious teach that thoughts are just as sinful as deeds.
    This 'belief' I think has been engraved in me subconsciously.
    Now hearing that random appearing thoughts are just normal,
    and that I'm not a weird, crazy person or that random thoughts define me in any way,
    I wish I could've heard this 18 years ago when I was suffering from OCD in my teenage years.

  2. How could we distinguish Trauma-flash backs phenomena from an intrusive thought with its defensive compulsive reaction..? OCD then as a co-morbidity of PTSD…
    Co-morbidity for people on the autistic scala as well…

    59:00 may I add that for PTSD this is just the same: face the fear-provoking event of the past – exposition – as to update the data for the brain "that belongs to the past… Put it in the archivs .. now this does not come back, cannot; make some room for new experiences.."

  3. i got ocd from 2cb cannabis amphetamines ketamine and mdma abuse. the chaw clenching effect kinda stayed from previous mdma use and i developed a weird counting tick where i would just count mostly 2 4 6 8 10 12 … or 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9… and make wierd mostly lowkey kinda movements. these have to be symetrical. so like for example counting how often i touch my upper left tooth with my lower left tooth and simustainly for example move my right toe a little. it always has to be a movemt on my right and my left side.

    then i have this wierd timing game i always find myself to be doing when i sit in a bus or a car and look out of the window i always bite my teeth together when i see a line mothing by. a line could be a tree or the vertical bar of a streeet sign or a fence or whatever. im also very scared of contamination by raw food items like meat or eggs.

    besides that i developed hppd from my drug use. despite that i have tried 30 to 40 different mostly recreational and medical drugs in one or two years when i was 15 and 16 years old, i still gotta say that i dont regret it and i really think it helped me deal with my problems ive had with past trauma, severe depression, anxiety caused by family problems when i was very young. im sober now 18 years old into fitness and music producing. i really feel like they helped tremendously with my selfdevelopment. that ocd and hppd and whatever really was a small price to pay for finally loveing beeing alive and happyiness.

    thanks for what you do and who you are andrew i will always listen to your podcasts with joy.

  4. Thanks for the video! Pretty interesting! I've had OCD from a young age! Seems to have developed in childhood! Never really had any intensive treatment for it or a diagnosis, but it's something I've been dealing with my whole life! I do my best to manage it but it can flare up in times of stress or when anxiety levels are higher! I suppose in a nut shell to break the cycle you have to refrain from carrying out the compulsuons! Easier said than done when anxiety levels are high! These compulsions can provide some sort of short term releif from uncomfortable feelings but it's a never ending cycle unless you can break it! Break the cycle even seems like the wrong choice of words! Basically have to create a new cycle! I'm writing this yet I can still struggle with OCD!

  5. Anyone Else suffering from sexual orientation ocd or homosexual ocd? I think that i could be bi but i really ocd about it and my whole Life never felt or thought anything in that Direktion before. I Always defined as a straight Male. I get scared when i think that that could be me.
    I think some background Story is important in my Case too:
    My Parents many Times told me that they dont know what i am but would Not be surprised If i was gay and told me that it wouldnt bother Them. I guess they did it Out of Love also because my Uncle is gay und Had to struggle with that His whole life. Whenever they Said that, which happened Like maybe five Times, i got angry and thought wtf why do my Parents think that.
    One day then i Had a thought that Someone i Took a Sports class with at University was attractive or hot. That thought freaked me Out since then, having ups and Downs with it. I also once watched gay porn and got aroused. After that my ocd really got intense. Is it also Common that anxiety can create Sort of a false arousal? I know that it is also possible that i really Like that and might be bisexual but it feels weird to me and i dont want to be that. Its Not that i am homophobic, i never Had a Problem with lgbtq people and since this ocd Thing started for me even feel more sympathy for Them, probably because they were experiwncing similar Things in their head or Just because they also experience Something different.

  6. Thank you for this video! I had debilitating OCD that started in 4th grade. I didn’t know what it was, but knew something was very wrong with me. Every day, normal life was hell and I would hide it because I was embarrassed. I had every aspect: checking, repetition, and order. Thankfully, I’m much better, I prayed for healing and did kind of a reverse psychology for myself. I constantly told myself that if I keep doing these rituals, the thing I’m doing so this thing won’t happen will happen to flip the script on myself.

    I’ve also read that vitamin b deficiency could be related and now I’ve realized I have a gluten allergy and often have vitamin deficiencies, so I’m wondering if an undiagnosed celiac disease my whole life could have been a factor. My ocd got bad when my little brother was born. I think my brain wanted to control something in a very uncontrollable environment with a newborn around. I could see hormones being involved because I’ve always suffered from horrible acne and still do. Also, many mothers get postpartum ocd, I’ve heard.

  7. I realized my daughter had OCD just a few years ago, as I thought she just had ADHD. She's 24 now, but starting in elementary school she had to organize things in specific ways. While doing homework she kept writing, erasing, and rewriting everything and it took forever for her to to complete any assignment. As she got older, if someone touched any of her personal items she would throw a fit. I had been listening to various podcast on mental health issues and realized I had similar issues while growing up and now I was seeing it in her. I thought I just had anxiety starting oat a young age and didn't realize that my own behaviors were indicative of OCD. I found her a great therapist that uses Exposure and Response Prevention therapy. It has been amazing for her.

  8. I told my coworker I have OCD and she said “oh my me too, I hate clutter! I get my phases as well”

    meanwhile it’s crippling for me and if I had a choice I’d never choose this life. I have to say, it’s one of my biggest pet peeves to hear someone describe their neatness as OCD.

  9. There are no words to describe my gratitude to your every single episode, to your every single word……. Thank you Thank you Thank you ???????????????????? your videos are my lifeline ???????????? thank you ????

  10. Thank you for this video! I have had OCD pretty much my entire life, but over the last couple of years have seen a significant decrease in symptoms due to 10mg Lexapro per day + Exposure Response Prevention Therapy + N-Acetyl Cysteine supplements + meditation + yoga.

  11. I'm a fan of the old TV series "Monk". This to me is a character who had OCPD. He has sharp focus….detecting small details in crime scenes…and also behaviors such as requiring symmetry and germophobia. (And other phobias).
    He touches things in successive order
    I think I identify with this somehow. I'm drawn to this program …its quality of writing and characters, and how they relate to "Mr. Monk".
    My apologies if this is inappropriate.
    Thank you Andrew Huberman for this work and giving us this information.

  12. I’m curious…. has anyone who’s been suffering with severe OCD for decades completely turned their life around? It’s no offense to anyone, but most comments I read and success stories I’ve heard are from people who seemed to have a couple years of suffering at some point in their lives (as opposed to their entire lives). Or they had it their whole life but didn’t realize it until it got bad. Mine has been terrible from age 5 til now at 35. Thanks for any input!

  13. It’s offensive to me when people say they are or have OCD when they don’t. I’ve been suffering mightily for 30 years, and I’m only 35. I didn’t sign up for this, and nobody except my mother seems to understand, or feel sympathy for me. If I had cancer I don’t think this would be true. It truly feels like a terminal illness. I’m 6’1” and am usually around 180 lbs (even when suffering obviously), but now I’m down to 140 and can see just about every bone in my body. My thoughts go out to anyone and everyone suffering like I have.

  14. Dear Dr. Andrew Huberman, just saw an interview with biologist Gary Brecka and it was brilliant. Please consider inviting him for a talk with you . Would be wonderful ????

  15. My teenaged daughter has suffered in a way that is just so unfair. She was diagnosed with the highest severity level OCD with mixed type. I am desperate to find a way to help her be able to live her daily life without OCD interrupting her ability to function. Not much has been helpful other than the tools we self learn and put into practice together, but it's nowhere near sufficient. My heart breaks for her.

  16. For those suffering from this nightmare… take a spoon of honey every morning and make sure you exercise everyday

  17. What about Orthomolecular psychiatry and the wonderful work of Abram Hoffer and Humphry Osmond, OCD almost destroyed my brother's life and took many many years out of his life because eventually OCD is a time Thief, He has been on 7 different SSRIs and 3 antipsychotics in the past None of them helped him, and some of them even worsened the symptoms, long story short 4 grams of niacin vitamin B3 and 3 grams of NAC plus 10,000 IU of vitamin D and 2000 mcg of B12 and 400 mg of magnesium and zinc plus good probiotics dropped his Y-BOCS score from 38 to 5 in 12 weeks and continued to this day for the last 5 years

  18. I will forever be thankful for psilocybin. It has been life changing for my mental health. Find someone you trust to be near and available during your experience. Having my partner near really helped me during my trip.

  19. Thoughts are not actions , That's true but PPL with OCD have thoughts Action fusing . They feels like that , it's difficult to verify all fears and prove them wrong especially OCD person ruminates on possibilities using his logical mind . Sometimes in such cases negative thoughts gets stuck and feel more true . Many such negative thoughts are to be neglected instead of allowing them to settle in you or cling to you to create negative environment ,that's what many normal PPL can DISCARD unhelpful thoughts . Basically it's neglecting capacity and flexibility and faith which supports yourself which is missing .
    OCD PPL lack that's egosystonic capability to handle thoughts and during situational fears then automatically more effort is made to discard them ,then reinforcing effect due to resistance will happen and repeatatiin of this cycle it gets more reinforced.
    Basically it's like you are flying kite , OCD ppl holds the thread tight fearing they may get loose control , while it's not recommended to cut loose also . It's proper flexibility one should have that's missing . Mainly why they in first place thought there kite will get lost that disbelief and fear and various misconceptions assumed needs to be handled , more positive outlook needs to be learnt . Then can reduce compulsions which were keeping you stuck

  20. An SSRI coupled with CBT and ACT along with ERP is the mix that has greatly helped me overcome purely obsessional OCD. You are not alone.

  21. Lots of info in this other than why I clicked on the video in the first place. For awhile there I thought I was watching an infomercial on dietary supplements

  22. What would you recommend if you also suffer from GAD, Panic-syndrome etc? The behavioural protocol to oppose the compulsion is just too difficult and causes panic attacks.

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