About Orchard OCD

we build a community of interdisciplinary professionals and work with them closely to progress together in developing new and better treatments for patients suffering from OCD.

Our Vision

is a world where all patients suffering from OCD receive effective treatment for their condition.

Our Mission

is to build that world by advancing collaborative translational research and driving the quest for new and better treatments for OCD.

Our Goals

We have a three-pillar approach,
1. Research (fund and run clinical trials)
2. Hubs (OCD research database and repository)
3. Dissemination (awareness campaigns and conferences)

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Orchard OCD

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Want To Participate In Brand New OCD Research?

Please have a look at the current OCD studies looking for participants.

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Call For Proposals 2022

In 2022 we launched our second call for proposals seeking hard-to-fund projects that have great potential to make a major impact for obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). We received many great submissions, and our independent scientific advisory board judged the projects last year. We are now excited to announce our winner: “Double-blind Randomised Placebo-controlled study of Tolcapone for OCD”

From The Blog

My Journey with OCD: Daring To HopeI’m a 27-year-old musician from North London. My journey with OCD has been an incredibly confusing and multifaceted one, shaped significantly by what could be called ROCD. My ROCD extends beyond romantic relationships, affecting my connections with friends, music, art, geographical places, memories, and even emotions themselves.The earliest memory I have of OCD dates back to when I was around 8 or 9. At age 11, I had what I now know are clear signs of OCD, with comorbidity of symptoms of anxiety and depression, and when I think back to those times, they seem impossibly emotionally bleak. Although these symptoms reduced around 13-15, they resurfaced with a vengeance during my first romantic relationship at 16. The isolation, fear of madness, unexplainable turmoil, confusion, and repulsion at my own mind is something that I will never forget. Within six weeks, I had gone from being in the most confident period of my life, to having suicidal thoughts.In 2014, a year into that relationship, I really was reaching a breaking point, and was starting to fear that I couldn’t survive the onslaught of horrendous thoughts much longer. In desperation, I dared to search online for "fear of being a paedophile", half-wondering if GCHQ were monitoring me as I searched. I was stunned – there were thousands of results about OCD. Reading the symptoms list on the OCD-UK website felt like someone had written a book about me. As many of us OCDers know though, realising that you are not alone, is absolutely life-changing – but it does not solve the disordered thinking.The relationship ended shortly after that discovery – we were both troubled teenagers – but my mental health issues persisted. After moving out to university and being in a generally turbulent mental state in London for 1.5 years, I talked to a university counsellor, who urged me to immediately seek help. I was surprised by that – I’d never taken my problems seriously. My perception of what constituted a legitimate mental health problem had been unintentionally skewed by having psychiatrist parents who met in a high secure psychiatric hospital, bless them. As doctors, I might add, not patients.And so began many years of talking therapy. It provided really valuable insights into my past, and connecting those times to what I was currently feeling – but it didn’t directly address my OCD, or give me the tools to deal with it as it was happening. In 2019, after OCD decided to try and crash and burn my brain again, I really stepped up my recovery efforts. Apart from listening to countless hours of the OCD Stories podcast (Stu I love you), and reading as much as I could about my disorder, I had a brief course of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) in 2019 and subsequent therapy with NOCD in 2021. Both of these therapies offered further insights, but nothing seemed to really be sticking.When I found myself in an unending moody, depressive, and incredibly angry depressive fog in the summer of 2021, I felt like my brain had to be reset, so I began taking Sertraline. It has helped alleviate my depressive symptoms and facilitate the work I had done in therapy – and also makes me less unbearable to live with (much to my partner’s relief!). However, if you are thinking of taking anti-depressants, please research thoroughly. I researched a LOT before taking Sertraline, and I had done a lot of other therapeutic work prior to taking it. There are no magic bullets that I know of yet, but there is definitely a pre- and post-Sertraline me.Something that remains unchanged through all of this is the automatic, knee-jerk perception I have of my OCD. It has always felt like a foreign body, an alien invader intruding on my life, like a monster from an absurd bad dream. Conversely, when I'm feeling really low without much conscious OCD activity, everything around me seems to slow down into what I call ‘dead-end pain’. I can feel the intense urge to binge eat and can get very angry and difficult to be around. And yet, as horrible as this is, it doesn't feel foreign. For some reason, my brain accepts it, perhaps because it is less ‘bizarre’, and society would probably understand that feeling and the overt causation for it more than OCD.  Put it this way, if you say to someone that you are really sad because your dog died, you would anticipate that they could understand that right? But if you told them that you’re in utter turmoil because of your hyper-fixation on a specific component of your best friend’s voice, or something equally bizarre, it might be pretty difficult to trust that someone would understand. So, accepting OCD is a long and challenging journey.At 27, I am currently receiving proper OCD treatment at a high-quality treatment centre for the first time. Learning about Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT) and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) has proven challenging and helpful so far. Additionally, I am increasingly interested in the potential of psychedelics, particularly psilocybin, as a treatment for OCD. Inspired by Rose Cartwright’s "The Maps We Carry" and keen to learn more about Professor David Nutt’s research on psychedelics, I am cautiously optimistic about the future of treatment for this disorder.My journey with OCD is ongoing. Despite all these hardships and my tendency towards turbulent emotional states, I have experienced times of incredible happiness in my life and continue to have hope every day. I want to live a life with the ability to feel connected to people, be a decent person, and to find pride and profound emotional meaning in my and other people’s creative work. It is not a coincidence that all three of these goals are the main targets for my OCD. The courage to love and experience joy is a very underestimated strength.“There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.” – Leonard Cohen

17 Jun 2024
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In this week's blog, Dany shares his OCD story and offers us insightful considerations:How are you? Something we ask and get asked every day. I’m sure the majority of us answer with “I’m good thanks, how about you?”But are you good? Are you really ok? Would it be better to say how you’re really feeling? Is it easy to say how you are really feeling?I walk my daughter to school. She’s happy, she skips along excited to see her friends. Her happiness makes me smile. We get to the playground, kids and parents greeting each other with the normal morning “how are you? I'm good thanks”. How are you? Do I answer with “I’m fine” or do I say how I’m really feeling? Do I say actually I’m awful. It's taken me 15 minutes to leave the house because I’ve had to check every door and window over and over again. I’ve checked the gas is off on the hob a few times and even sniffed it just to make sure and also I stood staring at the clock to be on an even number before I left the kitchen because if I don’t do these things there’s a good chance in my mind that I’ll probably get murdered on the way home or someone will break in to my house and either burgle it or be waiting to kidnap me. Maybe I’ll just stick with “doing good thanks”.When I get home all I want to do is go to bed, shut myself away from the world this way nobody can get me, nobody can hurt me. I don't have to do compulsions over and over again. Yes, the intrusive thoughts are still there but I’m shut away from the world in bed, nobody can get me here, it’s my safe place.I have things to do so I can’t shut myself away. My dog needs walking. I need to prepare my lunch for work and various other day to day tasks to do.I’ve not heard from my wife since she got to work. Is she ok? In reality she’s fine but the intrusive thoughts in my head are telling me what if she’s not? What if she’s had an accident on the way to work and she’s dead?I can make this ok. All I need to do is all my normal compulsions and she will be fine. I’ll tidy the cutlery drawer and line everything up completely perfect and then once I've done this I’ll stare at it for a bit, get them all out and line them all up again then maybe I’ll do it again!My dog is pacing around, and she’s desperate to go out. A simple task like this can be a nightmare. All I have to do is walk out of my door, lock it and off we go. Unfortunately, I can’t do this. Time to check the gas, check every window and door over and over again, time to wait for the clock to be even. Leave the house, lock the door, check that door is locked, walk away, go back check door. Walk away again full of anxiety that I’ve left the door unlocked and when I get home someone will be waiting in my house to kill me. Leaving my wife with no husband and my kids with no dad. Sounds awful right? This is what having to deal with intrusive thoughts is like. OCD is ruining my life. I don’t want to keep living this way, but I can’t tell anybody about this. It’s my secret, nobody needs to know about it.How easy could it possibly be to just tell my wife what is happening to me? Surely it can’t be that hard? I wrote my wife a letter and explained everything that was going on. I cried reading it back and thought what a coward! How could you possibly not talk to someone you love face to face rather than a letter? Letter goes in the bin, I’ll just keep this to myself, this is who I am now, I have dealt with it for so long alone, I can carry on this way.The day came that I could no longer go on living with OCD by myself. I was exhausted. I was tired. I didn’t want to carry on living this way. I needed to talk.I sat down with my wife. I cried then cried some more while trying to explain what had been happening to me. I can easily say it is one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do in my life. But also, one the most rewarding because this led me to getting help. Speaking to people who understand about OCD. Getting therapy, although very challenging, has made my life better and easier. I’ve done Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). Both are brilliant and I highly recommend them.Talking about problems especially for men is difficult but needs to be more common. If you really want to man up speak up, don't hide your problems away. Life can and will be better by taking that first step and telling someone about what's going on in your life.So how are you?

22 Sep 2023
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In this week's blog, Méliane shares her OCD story through a beautiful poem she wrote: I can’t see you but I know you’re there You’re always there Sometimes I think you’ve gone but you always find a way to re-appear   I’ve been in prison for years Alive but not living Closed down Standing Staring at life An observer bound in a mental straitjacket Looking at the world but not taking part in it Wooden, frozen   “No” I shout at you. “Enough. Stop” But you still keep coming at me I am so tired Tired of washing, cleaning & checking Tired of not being able to touch anything touched by anyone else Tired of the effort, the struggle, the continual cycle Tired of the loss of career & relationships Tired of not feeling able to go outdoors Tired of the loss of fun Tired of life   This year when Spring arrives I feel the sunlight warming me I feel a sense of hope I hear something funny on the radio and I laugh. It’s a strange feeling but good. It’s been a long time A thought floats into my head “I can do anything I want” I want my freedom Can I find the strength to take it? I’m going to try.

19 May 2023
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Here at Orchard OCD, we are focusing on developing treatments for patients suffering from obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), a serious mental illness. You can help us treat this debilitating disorder, through taking part in research, donating towards crowdfunding campaigns and promoting our work. All of this information will be sent to you through our E-News. Sign up today and you will be part of the future of OCD treatment.