Prof. Dr.-Ing. Bert Arnrich

OCD Early Warning System and Sensor-Supported Treatment Options

Kristina Kirsten

More than 2% of the world‘s population are diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) once in their lifetime [1]. Patients suffer from recurrent or persistent thoughts, images, impulses or actions and they have the desire to resist it [2]. These obsessions and compulsion take more than one hour a day. Typical behavior includes, among others, the repeatedly checking on things, e.g. if the door is locked or that the oven is off. If at all, OCD is often diagnosed very late. Responsible for this problem is lack of knowledge about the illness or shame of the patient [3]. With the multitude of new connected devices (smartwatch, smartphone, fitness tracker) and other Internet of Things (IoT) gadgets, compulsive habits could be identified early (Use Case 1). Consequently, a cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) could be started rapidly after identification, as the chances of recovery at an early stage of OCD are much better [4]. The most reliable CBT is the exposure and response prevention (ERP) where the patient is exposed to his fears without being allowed to perform any compulsive actions. The patient should realize that his anxiety ceases without any avoidance strategies. These subjective perceptions can be supported by sensor-based measurements of various physiological parameters (Use Case 2).

[1] W. K. Goodman, D. E. Grice, K. A. Lapidus and B. J. Coffey, "Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder," Psychiatric Clinics of North America, vol. 37, no. 3, pp. 257-267, 2014.

[2] A. T. Carr, "Compulsive neurosis: A review of the literature," Psychological Bulletin, vol. 81, no. 5, pp. 311-318, 1974.

[3] "Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder," National Institure of Mental Health , January 2016. [Online]. Available: www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/obsessive-compulsive-disorder-ocd/index.shtml. [Accessed 5 July 2019].

[4] E. H. a. S. P. Elisabetta Burchi, "From Treatment Response to Recovery: A Realistic Goal in OCD," Int J Neuropsychopharmacol, vol. 21, no. 11, pp. 1007-1013, 2018.

Recent Project: OCD Early Warning System

The two central components of an OCD Early Warning System are an Indoor Positioning System (IPS) and an Activity Recognition System. With the help of different technologies, including distance measurement to nearby anchor nodes, e.g. WiFi access points or Bluetooth beacons, it is possible to identify a person’s position. This localization is needed to recognize the very same activity. As an example, the checking of the front door 5 times in a row can be a compulsive act whereby the closing of 5 different doors in a house in a short time does not indicate a pathological behavior. Consequently, both systems, an IPS and an activity recognition system, are needed.

Furthermore, the OCD Early Warning System will very unobtrusive so that the user is not biased. Therefore, common connected devices, e.g. smartwatches, smartphones, other IoT gadgets, are used for the data collection.