OCD self-treatment app to launch new Android version with more features
The makers of nOCD, a free self-treatment app designed to assist individuals struggling with symptoms of obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), recently reiterated their commitment to launch the Android version of the app in 2018, and add more features to the existing app. The app is currently available only on iOS, the mobile operating system deployed on products offered by Apple. The new development and enhancements are being made possible by the $1 million funding received by nOCD in February 2018.
Founder and CEO of nOCD Stephen Smith decided to create the app in 2016 when he found that existing mental health apps were not effective in addressing the severity of his OCD symptoms. Although the available apps offered general cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), Smith felt that they did not go “deep enough” to treat the specific symptoms of OCD. Besides providing effective treatment, he also wanted to create a community and offer 24-hour support to affected individuals through the app.
nOCD provides clinically effective guidance in the form of exposure and response prevention (ERP) interventions. ERP, considered the “gold standard” treatment for OCD, requires individuals affected with OCD to accept their obsessive feelings (along with the associated fear and anxiety) and not engage in any compulsive/ritualistic behavior to offset such obsessive feelings. The nOCD app first helps users navigate CBT and subsequently assists them in resisting their compulsions through Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT).
Addressing the need for specific mental health treatment
There has been a proliferation of self-treatment mental health apps in recent years. However, most technology companies have not developed customized treatment models targeted at specific conditions. Smith emphasized that “most mental health conditions need specific treatment, not just OCD.” He mentioned that there was a tendency among technology companies to “condense” various treatment options into a single one. The “SOS” feature in the nOCD app is designed to provide an immediate response to people dealing with emergency situations.
Despite its efficacy, ERP therapy may be financially unviable for many patients. Another barrier to treatment is the limited number of therapists who are trained in ERP therapy. The idea behind creating the nOCD app was to overcome these barriers and also give individuals proper direction to complete ERP exercises. The app allows users to monitor their improvement and provides a platform for healthcare providers to access patient information. It also provides an anonymous platform for OCD patients to connect with one another for support.
Technology can supplement, not replace, counseling and psychotherapy
The anonymity offered by technology has made it possible for more and more people to avail of mental health services since it reduces the stigma associated with psychiatric illnesses. Moreover, it helps in reducing travel and other costs, and provides mental health services to individuals in remote or rural areas who otherwise find it difficult to receive therapy. While these advantages make technology a compelling proposition, many experts believe that it is intended to aid therapy, not replace it.
Although online psychotherapy can be availed of by almost anyone, specific situations may need qualified counselors to determine if individuals are suitable for technology-enabled therapy. Some experts also cite safety and ethical concerns of using technology, particularly since face-to-face or two-way communication may not take place on a real-time basis (except in the case of videoconferencing).
Treatment for OCD
OCD is a debilitating and enduring disorder in which individuals experience recurring, overpowering thoughts, urges or mental images (obsessions) and use ritualistic or repetitive behavior to try and control such obsessions. It was previously estimated that 1.2 percent of American adults aged 18 or older had OCD in the past year, while 2.3 percent adults had a lifetime prevalence of OCD. Typical treatment options include medication, psychotherapy (particularly ERP), or a combination of both.
If you know someone struggling with obsessive compulsive disorder or other behavioral issues, contact the Recover Mental Health. We offer evidence-based treatment which is customized for every individual. Call at our 24/7 helpline number 866-593-2339 or chat online with our specialists to know more about the best behavioral health centers offering treatment for obsessive compulsive disorder.