App provides therapy on-the-go for people with OCD

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A Pomona College student created an app to help himself and others who have obsessive compulsive disorder. (KABC)

It's estimated that one in 40 people worldwide experience some symptoms of obsessive compulsive disorder. For one local college student, those OCD symptoms overtook his life.

Pomona College junior Stephen Smith, 22, created something that helped him and others as well. The app, nOCD, is therapy on the go.

"I can take care of it right then and there, remember the clinically proven guidance, and then go on with my life," Smith said.

Smith was diagnosed with OCD at age 20. Most people wait 10 to 15 years before seeking treatment, says psychotherapist John Tsilimparis, because they misunderstand the signs.

"The hallmark is compulsions as well as obsessions, meaning people have obsessions which are very dark and disturbing thoughts that cause them a lot of anxiety," Tsilimparis said.

Tsilimparis explains OCD is linked to problems in the brain's ability to regulate serotonin levels.

"Somebody with severe OCD really, really needs a coach, a therapist," he said.

But a therapist can't always be by your side, and that's where the nOCD app comes in. It's programmed to offer affirmations, mindfulness and exposure therapy -- treatments that can be effective at the onset of an episode.

Daily prompts keep users accountable, and data collected from the app is charted and can be instantly sent to your psychologist. So far, user feedback has been positive.

The app is free for 30 days, and then it costs $15 a month. For more information, visit
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