Calming Compulsions: A Pill For OCD

FRESNO, Calif.

But now an antibiotic once used to treat tuberculosis could change the way doctors treat fear disorders. We'll show you how it changed one boy's life forever.

Ask about his favorite sport, and watch Nathaniel Ray's eyes light up.

Ask about his favorite player, and he'll talk Tim Tebow.

"This is when I met (Tim) Tebow in the 5th grade," Nathaniel said.

But ask where he gets his confidence - and he'll talk about his OCD.

"It made me a stronger person," Nathaniel said.

While he still has tics-- from his Tourette's and occasional OCD pop ups, they're nothing compared to five years ago. Then, his pencils had to be in perfect order, he'd walk in certain patterns and his most challenging symptom: "I'd apologize a lot," Nathaniel explained.

"Just out of curiosity, I started counting, and within a 30 minute time frame he had apologized more than 60 times," Betty Ray, Nathaniel's mother told Action News.

Nathaniel was the first to join Dr. Eric Storch's study. Storch has been working to see if the tuberculosis medication D-cycloserine can be combined with cognitive behavioral therapy to reduce OCD symptoms in kids and help them face their fears. The pill is taken one hour before therapy. It's thought to affect receptors in the brain that are associated with how people learn to become afraid of something or not.

"That's one of the exciting parts of this. Is that, can we enhance the effectiveness of cognitive behavioral therapy, with a very safe antibiotic," Eric Storch, Ph.D., a licensed clinical psychologist at the University of South Florida told Action News.

While other anxiety meds are taken daily, the pill is discontinued after the program ends. After Nathaniel's 10 week session - "He was a different child," Betty said.

"He wouldn't apologize in any excessive manner," Dr. Storch said.

Now the football star shares his story with everyone from classmates to congressmen and for that... he's unapologetic.

Early results from the study show the group of kids who received therapy plus D-cycloserine has a 72 percent reduction in symptoms versus only 58 percent in those who only received therapy. None of the children in the pilot study had adverse side effects from the drug.

For More Information, Contact:

Erich Storch, PhD
University of South Florida
(727) 767-8230
estorch@health.usf.edu

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