head_ocd Columbia University Medical Center Center for OCD and Related Disorders


Overview: Our research work is funded in large part by the National Institutes of Health and private foundations. If you are interested in one of our research studies, please call (646)774-7000. We will offer you a confidential screening and evaluation to determine whether you are eligible for one of our studies. Any treatment you receive as part of your study participation is provided at no cost to you.


Current Treatment Studies
Doctors often begin OCD treatment by giving patients medications such as Anafranil, Paxil, Prozac, Luvox, Celexa, Lexipro or Zoloft. 
For many patients these medications are helpful but do not provide adequate relief of symptoms.  For these patients, there is a need for additional treatment options.  Our current treatment studies are investigating add-on treatments for people taking medications for their OCD but still needing more help.

Attaining and Maintaining Wellness in OCD (IRB# 6628)



  • Are you between the ages of 18 - 75?
  • Are you taking one of the following medications for obsessive- compulsive disorder (OCD)?
    • Clomipramine (Anafranil)
    • Fluoxetine (Prozac)
    • Fluvoxamine (Luvox)
    • Sertraline (Zoloft)
    • Paroxetine (Paxil)
    • Citalopram (Celexa)
    • Escitalopram (Lexapro)
  • Are you still having bothersome symptoms?
  • Are you interested in receiving no-cost therapy treatment that may improve your symptoms such that you may be able to stop taking your medication?

If you answered "yes" to all four questions, you may be eligible for treatment as part of our research study.

Eligible participants initially remain on a stable dose of their OCD medication and will receive cognitive behavioral therapy consisting of Exposure and Ritual Prevention (EX/RP) twice a week for up to 12 weeks as additional treatment. Participants who become well (with only minimal to mild OCD symptoms) after the EX/RP will be randomly assigned (assigned by chance) to either continue their medication or begin to taper off their medication and have it gradually replaced with a placebo (sugar pill). All patients will be carefully monitored throughout the study for 24 weeks. The goal of the study is to understand whether patients with OCD on Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SRIs) who achieve wellness from EX/RP can safely discontinue their medication.

No one who has not become well after 12 weeks of EX/RP will discontinue their medication. Individuals who do not improve significantly will be referred elsewhere to receive appropriate clinical treatment.

This study, funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, is a collaboration between Dr. Blair Simpson from Columbia University-New York State Psychiatric Institute and Dr. Edna Foa from the University of Pennsylvania.

For more information about participation, please contact Dr. Marcia Kimeldorf at (646)774-8049 or see our study specific website at www.ocdtreatmentstudy.com.


Treatment of OCD with Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (IRB# 5926 R)

This study tests the efficacy of repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS) in the treatment of OCD. rTMS is a non-invasive procedure that uses a magnet to stimulate areas of the brain.  rTMS is FDA approved for the treatment of depression.  Pilot studies have suggested that rTMS may be helpful in reducing OCD symptoms. All treatment is provided at no charge. Participants must be between the ages of 18 - 70. To schedule a confidential screening, contact Jaimie Gowatsky at (646)774-5424.


Rapid Anti-Obsessional Effects of Ketamine in OCD (IRB# 5883)

This research study tests whether ketamine - a drug that blocks a brain receptor called NMDA - can cause a rapid (within hours) anti-obsessional effect in individuals with OCD. Even medications that are effective for treating OCD take weeks or months to achieve their full effects; some individuals with OCD may have only mild symptom reduction from these medications. More rapidly acting medications are needed to improve quality of life for those still suffering from OCD. In a recent published case study (2011) from our clinic, ketamine produced a rapid anti-obsessional effect within hours, with the effect lasting approximately 1 week. Understanding how ketamine works may lead to a better understanding of the causes of OCD. This is not a treatment study. Results from this study will allow doctors and researchers to better understand if you and others with OCD may respond to a class of medications that target the NMDA brain receptor. You will be compensated for your time and reimbursed for transportation and lunch. Participants must be between the ages of 18 - 55. Contact Dr. Carolyn Rodriguez (646)774-8061. 

iCBT: Internet Based Treatment for OCD

This study is for New York and New Jersey state residents who are having trouble with their OCD symptoms and would be interested in participating in a research study to test the effectiveness of a ten week therapist-supported online treatment. Online treatment will be provided at no cost. The goal of this study is to help participants improve the severity of their OCD through online cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), which includes evidence -based exposure and response prevention (EX/RP) techniques. Four in-person evaluations at the Columbia University Medical Center are required for the entire program, and the rest of the treatment will be completed from the convenience of your own computer. Participants will have 10 weeks to complete 10 online treatment modules, guided by a study therapist who will be available to them every step of the way via the online treatment platform. The online therapy modules will help you learn about your OCD and guide you through a treatment program that is tailored to fit your needs.

For more information, please call Dr. Sapana Patel at (646)774-8135.

Understanding the Brain Basis of OCD


We are currently investigating the brain mechanisms underlying the symptoms of OCD.  The studies listed below use cutting edge techniques to investigate the neurochemistry of the brain, the functioning of brain circuits, and the way the brain processes information.  
If you are over 18 and NOT currently on psychiatric medications, you may be eligible to participate in one or more of these studies. All participants are compensated for their time ($175 - $285 per study) depending on the specific study. To schedule a confidential screening please contact the center at (646)774-7000.

fMRI: Studies of the Brain in Health and Illness

(IRB# 6159)

This study uses functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to measure brain activity across different brain regions while participants are performing a series of computer tasks. Participants are also asked to complete neuropsychological tasks and clinical evaluations. Eligible participants must be between the ages of 18 - 45.

Neurobehavioral Tasks in OCD and Related Disorders (IRB# 6430)

This study uses different neurobehavioral tasks and questionnaires to measure one's stress reactivity, startle reflexes, and preferences. To be eligible you must be between the ages of 18 - 50.

Hoarding Disorder

Treatment Acceptability for Hoarding Disorder (IRB# 6677)

      • Do you have trouble with clutter, excessive collecting or hoarding?
      • Can you tell us what type of treatments and services you find acceptable?

Participate in an anonymous online survey (IRB #6677) to understand what kinds of treatments and services are acceptable to individuals who have hoarding behaviors, such as difficulty discarding or parting with possessions, excessive acquiring, and clutter in their home. Participation is limited to once per person; it will take you approximately 30 minutes to complete.  After completing the survey, you can enter for a chance to win a $100 Amazon.com gift card. 

Click here to take the survey.

For more information on Hoarding Disorder treatment and research for adults, please call (646)774-8128.

Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder (OCPD)


Understanding Obsessive Compulsive Personality Features (IRB# 5979)

      • Is perfectionism causing problems for you?
      • Do others complain about your rigidity?
      • Do you worry too much about order and details?
      • Do you find it difficult to relax and enjoy free time?
      • Are you constantly trying to control things?
      • Do you plan out every minute of your day?

Participants are needed for a research study designed to learn more about obsessive compulsive personality features and ways of thinking, and how these features affect life functioning. Participants will receive a confidential evaluation at no cost and payment upon completion of an interview, questionnaires, and computer tasks. For more information, contact Ashley Greene at (646)774-8086. 


Online Survey: Treatment Preferences for OCD


Online Survey of Treatment Preferences for OCD (IRB# 6144)

We are conducting an online survey about treatment preferences for OCD. Participation is anonymous and typically takes up to 30 minutes. The information gathered may contribute to better understanding of treatment preferences for OCD and may lead to improved services and delivery of care. Participation is limited to once per person.



Under 18 Years of Age? Opportunities for Child & Adolescent Treatment and Studies


 Clinical Trial of Minocycline in Pediatric OCD (IRB#6574)

  • Is your child taking one of the following medications for obsessive-compulsive disorder?
    • Clomipramine (Anafranil)
    • Fluoxetine (Prozac)
    • Fluvoxamine (Luvox)
    • Sertraline (Zoloft)
    • Paroxetine (Paxil)
    • Citalopram (Celexa)
    • Escitalopram (Lexapro)
  • Is your child still having bothersome symptoms?
  • Are you interested in receiving no-cost treatment for your child?

If you answered "yes" to all three questions, your child may be eligible for treatment as part of a research program at Columbia University/New York State Psychiatric Institute.

We are offering treatment as part of a research study for children and adolescents ages 8-20 who have obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and are currently taking one of the above medications for their OCD but still have unwanted symptoms. 

This study includes a clinical evaluation, medical exam, brain scan, and possible medication treatment with a drug called minocycline.  During the 12 week study period, your child will continue to take the SRI s/he is currently taking. Your child will also be given another pill to take which will be either minocycline or pill placebo ("sugar pill," with no active medication in it). There is a two out of three chance that your child will receive minocycline instead of placebo. You, your child, and the study doctor will not know whether your child is receiving minocycline or placebo until after the study is over, but the information will be available in case of a medical emergency. After the study period, follow-up care including medication management will be provided for three additional months at no cost to you.

Participants will be compensated for their time.

This study, funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, is a collaboration between Dr. Moira Rynn and Dr. Blair Simpson from Columbia University/New York State Psychiatric Institute and Dr. Dikoma Shungu at Weill Cornell Medical College.

For more information about participation, or to schedule a confidential phone screening, please contact study coordinator Prerna Martin at (646)774-5793.


More Research/Treatment Information for Children & Adolescents

The Columbia University Clinic for Anxiety & Related Disorders (CUCARD) for Children & Adolescents

The Children's Day Unit at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons