Motivation For Innovation

nOCD isn’t just a comfort for people with OCD—it’s changing the entire game for OCD treatment. Stephen Smith is the Co-Founder and personal inspiration behind the fast-growing mental health revolution that is nOCD.

“I was officially diagnosed with OCD the summer after my sophomore year of college, when I was in my most severe state,” he says. “However, I was affected by OCD much earlier.”

Smith grew up experiencing brief signs that are typical of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, like spending hours on WebMD, convinced he had cancer—fears that he can look back at now and see as irrational and obsessive. “Although I wasn’t in crippling anxiety and didn’t know it was OCD, in retrospect, I can see now exactly what was happening; I was obsessing and checking.”

During sophomore year of college, his undiagnosed OCD became increasingly worse. The recurring episodes became impossible to ignore, and Smith found an Internet psychologist in desperation of finding an explanation. The psychologist told him it was simply a matter of being able to control his thoughts and in following this advice, his symptoms only got worse.

This was the start of a long string of psychologists with poor advice, offering solutions of breathing exercises and moving away from home. His anxieties only worsened from following the advice. When Smith finally found a psychologist who would introduce him to ERP, the psychologist never actually helped Smith structure an ERP plan, which made the treatment impossible for him to keep up with.

At this point, Smith’s mother took charge and found an IOCDF certified OCD specialist. The specialist set up an ERP plan, gave Smith specific exercises to do on his own, and educated him to be his own therapist. The direction helped and it seemed to be the most successful plan available. But it was not a flawless treatment.

“I still had a very difficult time sticking to the treatment plan because I never knew if I was doing ERP correctly when the psychologist wasn’t around, which was 99.2% of the time,” Smith says. “Before I was officially diagnosed, I went through hell. When I was finally diagnosed, I still went through hell, but at least it was nice knowing there was a light at the end of the tunnel.”

In search of a cure for his own personal anxieties, Smith discovered flaws in the available treatment that he could not ignore. Cultivating empathy for others with the same problems, as well as a passion for solving a crucial crisis in mental health treatment, Smith saw the opportunity for a groundbreaking solution and nOCD was born.

nOCD provides fixes for the flaws that Smith found in his own treatment by being a 24/7 tool to get users through anxiety in the moment and following an ERP schedule, while also recording real time data so the user won’t have to try to remember or collect data on episodes themselves.

As for Smith’s personal struggle nowadays? Well, that’s just a byproduct of finding the solution to pivotal holes in mental health treatment. “I am about 95 percent better,” He says. “Occasionally, I will have an episode, but I know that when I do, I am able to manage it better. I will have OCD for the rest of my life, but now, with nOCD, I can live a happy, free life.”

-Josie Santi


*Sponsored by nOCD – an OCD treatment app that helps OCD patients each day with ERP therapy (!

Learn more about nOCD and our mission to revolutionize OCD treatment at



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