My OCD manifests itself through intrusive thoughts relating to harm to myself and to others that are close to me.
Over the past seven years I have had four failed therapy attempts with different medical professionals at various different levels. I was taking 200mg of Lustral, this reduced my symptoms, however the side effects significantly affected my day-to-day life. At this point my quality of life was extremely poor and to be quite honest, miserable.
After browsing the Internet for alternative treatments I came across rTMS (repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulations). After some initial research I found out the treatment was available cheaper in the Netherlands and at this point I had absolutely nothing to lose.
As expected, I was nervous about attending the treatment. After an initial consultation, electroencephalogram (EEG- to check for abnormalities) which relived my anxiety, I started the treatment.
The treatment involves lying our your back on a treatment bed. An electromagnetic coil on a moveable arm is placed against your head. Prior to each treatment, your head is marked to ensure the coil is placed in the same place each time. Magnetic pulses are administered through the coil. The treatment itself us slightly uncomfortable at first however after a few minutes becomes a mild irritation. It does make you jump at first, but only until you get used to the unusual feeling. In the first minutes of the treatment the click makes you close eye like your face muscles tense slightly.
As the sessions went on, I became more relaxed and eventually ended up laughing and joking with my consultant throughout the treatment. After the first 20 sessions I returned to the UK reducing my medication right away. This was an extremely difficult task, although after sticking with it and gradually reducing over six weeks, I came off my medication entirely. I had previously tried to come off my medication on a few occasions, all of which failed. I feel that having the treatment significantly increased my chances of successfully coming of my medication. This was my own personal goal agreed with medical professionals.
My discontinuation symptoms subsided after around three months. I then returned for a further 10 sessions.
I am sure the treatment affects everyone differently. I feel the treatment interrupted my habitual thinking patterns allowing me to think differently and move away from my traditional, obsessional thoughts.
The primary benefit of the treatment was my improved ability to sleep. Prior to the treatment I was sleeping between two and four hours per night. My ability to focus and concentrate has also improved. I feel that the treatment has significantly increased my quality of life.
The treatment itself is not a magic answer, however, it has allowed my brain to move away from traditional thinking patterns and has allowed me to improve other aspects of my life including sleep, concentration, focus, diet and patience. It is still early days, but I feel my treatment has been a success.
Many thanks to Bram Wernsen and all at rTMS International. I plan to have further sessions next year to complete my treatment.