Today I wanted to share with you all a very special something that was brought to my attention recently called nOCD. I kept seeing mentions of this ‘nOCD’ thing all over my instagram feed lately, and I was curious to see what it was.
nOCD is a smartphone app (and smartwatch, if you’re baller enough to own one of those babies! Or if you’re my parents, who simply have to own every single apple product on the market…) and is doing wonderful things for those who suffer from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, or OCD, and want to have access to therapy on the go. The app utilises ERP therapy – which stands for Exposure Response Prevention Therapy – and mindfulness to assist OCD sufferers in managing the condition.
nOCD was created by Stephen Smith, a 23 year old diagnosed with OCD. Stephen’s OCD was so bad that he could barely leave the house (boy do we know what that’s like…) and he hit the nail on the head when he noticed that he experienced his worst episodes when he wasn’t with his doctor. This is something that always irked me about therapy, and I’m sure many others have experienced, regardless of what mental disorder one may have – it’s all well and good to go to a session with your therapist, report back about your symptoms/episodes and get advice on how to deal with those episodes in the future…but when you leave the therapists office – you’re on your own. And it is incredibly difficult to remember all the shit your therapist said when you’re in the midst of a mental meltdown. This is what makes the nOCD app such a winner in my eyes. The app has a feature aptly called SOS which you can use when you are experiencing a triggering episode – it provides distraction, as well as logging data such as your location, the time of day, and what you were experiencing (a compulsion or an obsession). This method of tracking data means not only that you can consistently check in on your progress, but you can also then share this data with your therapist – no more forgetting exactly what was going on in the moment – which enables your therapist to better customise your treatment plan.
Another great feature of the nOCD app is the option to plan your exposures. Now, I’m sure you’ve heard me bang on about exposure therapy before and how bloody successful it is at treating anxiety disorders such as agoraphobia, and it is just as successful at treating OCD. The key factor in doing exposure therapy is…well, doing it. The planning function in the app is tailored to your specific needs, and allows you to keep on top of ERP therapy – giving you bite-sized chunks of ‘homework’ each day. The fact that you can do these exercises (with guidance from Bob – the app’s handy little motivation buddy) and track them easily and discreetly means that staying on course with your OCD treatment is far easier than just using traditional therapy on it’s own.
The wonderful thing about this app is that it is making treatment for OCD accessible. I know when I first started Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, I had to go through my GP to get a referral, followed by a mental health plan which gave me a couple of free sessions but after those ran out my therapy sessions were upwards of $100 per session. This was something I really couldn’t afford, and I know for a lot of people attending therapy isn’t something that they can manage, whether financially or otherwise. The app is recommended to be used in conjunction with traditional therapy, however it is easy enough to be used when you’re flying solo – which is a truly amazing thing. Smartphone apps have made a lot of things accessible for the masses – we can log in to facebook or instagram, chat with friends, binge-watch netflix, send some pretty pointless snapchats (guilty) and do a million and one other things that probably could wait – but having a way to access discreet and on-the-go therapy when you’re in the middle of a triggering episode is darnright awesome.
To download the app (oh…did I mention it’s free?!) you can click right here and check it out for yourself.