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Conquering OCD With Dr. Julia Britz

3 years ago

There is a fine line between being quirky and actually having a disorder. For many people around the world, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is not just an amusing obsession over perfection, but a serious behavioral condition that can hamper their ability to do even basic functions. Dr. Julia Britz had had her own experience with this beast. Proving a lot of doctors wrong, Dr. Julia got her life back through naturopathic medicine and NAD therapy. She is now a naturopathic doctor who specializes in integrative mental health, more specifically anxiety disorders like OCD. Listen in as she relates her miraculous recovery journey with Dr. Kevin Pecca.


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Conquering OCD With Dr. Julia Britz

On the show, we have Dr. Julia Britz. I love this show because it gives me the opportunity to sit down and learn from some brilliant people and Dr. Julia is one of those people. Her own personal story is why I was excited to have her on the show. Dr. Britz is a naturopathic doctor who specializes in integrative mental health, more specifically anxiety disorders like OCD, eating disorders, psychiatric medication tapering, as well as depression and mood disorders.

Dr. Julia had many diagnoses on her own health journey. A lot of doctors told her she was not going to get better, but she proved them wrong. She got her life back through naturopathic medicine and NAD therapy. She is on a mission to help as many people as possible to get their lives back. That is such a beautiful thing when one person heals from something and they make it their life's mission to help others heal. That's why she's such a great doctor and is doing such a beautiful job. If you want to check out her TED Talk, it's called My OCD Diary. Without further ado, please welcome, Dr. Julia Britz.


We have a special guest, Julia Britz. She is a naturopathic doctor out of Sedona, Arizona out of a holistic behavioral health center. She also does telemedicine. I'm excited to have her on the show because her story is amazing. She is helping other people with what she was going through and that's what the show is all about. Please welcome, Dr. Julia Britz. How are you?

I'm doing great. How are you doing?

I am doing well. Thank you for joining me. I know we have a mutual patient that connected us. She speaks so highly of you and she only sees the top of the line people. I'm excited to have you on and for you to share your story.

Thank you. I'm excited to be here and I love what you do. I love working. Team care is important. I love it when patients have a whole bunch of people on their side.

Julia, where are you from originally?

I am all over, but originally, I am from San Diego. That's where I went to high school and medical school and moved back and forth. It's a great place to be. I'm now in Sedona, which is different, but I spent a lot of time in Vegas so I'm used to the desert scene as well.

Julia, what were you into growing up as a kid?

As a kid, I was often found playing on the swing set with my brother and sister. They're still my best friends. We grew up as little kids in the Northwest in Woodinville Redmond, Washington. It is a beautiful forest fairyland, super magical, honestly. It was great. I then went to high school in Carlsbad, California. I grew up a little bit in the beach scene too. I had a pretty great childhood, but it wasn't until I was nineteen when my OCD started getting bad. As a kid, I noticed it because I liked routine things. I did a lot of solitaires. I played that game a lot and puzzles. I organized my stuffed animals. I liked being alone as a kid and it didn't get tweaked until I was older. It's interesting to look back and see how I was creative in a solitary way and how it went down a different path that was harder. Overall, it was cool growing up and seeing my siblings grow up their own way and mine.

At nineteen, you said the OCD became a problem. What happened at nineteen? Did somebody else have to step in and be like, “There's something going on here that we need to address?”

It was a big year for me because that's when I went to college. That was a trigger, a whole new environment, and a whole new space. I moved out and all of that life stress was enough for my body to respond in a way that was like, “How do we cope with this?” I've noticed for a lot of people in my practice with OCD as well, usually perfectionistic kids. They are interested in control, trying to get things ready to go away quickly. For me, I could not control a lot of what happened in my first year in college. I hit it well though. I would drive into the school parking lot multiple times. I had reparked the car hundreds of times. If you looked in my radio, you'd see the button that said power on and off. It was completely gone because I'd pushed it many times on the car ride there, radio on, radio off, then park, reparked, I would walk backwards to campus, and we had a lot of stairs, so it was challenging.

You would walk up the stairs backward?

Correct. I would have to time it so a lot of people wouldn't notice it or I go slowly as if I was waiting around for something, but I was late for everything because this took time.

What would happen if you weren't able to walk up the steps backward, or if you weren't able to park your car exactly right?

Usually, those things would be instigated from a thought that was what we would start the whole thing. A thought would be, “I wonder if I accidentally ran over somebody on the freeway? I thought it must be true. How do I get the spot out? I have to repark a bunch of times.” Usually, it is me being concerned about hurting other people by accident, or worried that I was conjuring up a spirit. That was another common one. If I didn't hit the button exactly right, that meant that somebody in my family was at risk of being haunted.

That's a heavy load on your shoulders.

It was a lot because I knew that it was irrational. There was a part of me that felt like it must be true because the feelings were intense.

I know it's an example you throw out, but the freeway thing where you clearly didn't hit anybody on the way to school, but there was that thought that it might be true in the back of your head.

I would exit and do that multiple times. By the 5th or 6th time of going around this exit coming down the highway and looking around, knowing for sure I hadn't done it, but wondering, “If I hadn't done it, then why is this feeling so strong? I must've done it. I am just not seeing it.” I would then continue to do it until the anxiety would go away and then I'd think, “Maybe I didn't do it.” That would start the tapping of the radio button because that will help calm my nerves too. It would go on for the whole day.

What did a good day look like for you? Even if you had good thoughts, was there still a lot of OCD going on then?

It seemed like once the ball got rolling without treatment, it got more and more intense, but a good day would be if I were able to avoid triggers. If I wasn't going to school on the weekend and I could stay home and hang out, that would be easier, but then I'd have my little home routine as well. I couldn't get dressed by myself. I would need to have my ex-husband pick out an outfit for me because I would put one on, I will have a bad thought, I want to take it off, and put on something else. I would be stuck in a pile of clothes. Washing my hands was a big one. That was the first thing that people noticed was how long it was taking me to get out of the bathroom. I'd be washing my hands so much because my hands were usually bloody. Everything else I could hide or come up with a good story for. That was the point where people were noticing I was quirky. There's a fine line between being quirky and having a disorder. People want to believe you. If you say, “I am okay. I am fine.” They’re like, “Good.” It's a relief.

How does this play out now? You're going to school, you're walking up the steps backward, and you're constantly washing your hands. What's happening next? How long were you able to do that before? Did somebody else step in or you're like, “I need to get some help here?”

I figured out there was a problem that I couldn't handle myself when I was at my dad's house in Vegas. I looked at an old family photo on the wall and it triggered a negative thought for me about the supernatural. I was at my sink, rinsing out dust from glass and twenty minutes later, there's nothing wrong with the glass, but I'm still doing it. I realized that I cannot pull away even though I want to. At this point, I’m crying. I knew that there's something wrong and I started googling cancel out bad thoughts with action, repeat an action over and over, and OCD came up. It was me. I thought, “That's what I have. What do I do?” Luckily, my sister was supportive. She was the first person I told and she said, “I love you. I don't know how to deal with this though, but let's figure out how to find a good therapist for you.” That's what started that and that was great. Having her be so understanding and not as judgmental as I was about myself allowed me to be a little bit braver and to go forward and try to find somebody to help me.

What was therapy like for you? Did you find it beneficial? Did you have to go through a couple of people before you found the right person?

Therapy was amazing. If you find a therapist you work well with, that can make or break it. I would argue finding a strong therapeutic alliance with a therapist that you could trust is more beneficial than the style of therapy or the modality like CBT versus ACT. A lot of them have similar success rates. For me, it was crucial to find somebody that I felt I could tell because these were shameful thoughts I was having. They are embarrassing stuff. The first therapist I saw was at my school and she was kind but had no experience in dealing with OCD. We were still at a place where she could help me at least admit it. That’s the first step. I tried a few therapists out. The one that I liked the best specialized in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, which made a lot of sense to me because it wasn't about stopping the behavior. I had been through enough embarrassment walking on the stairs back. That wasn't the concern. I could deal with that. I couldn't deal with the anxiety and the constant thinking and thought loops. I couldn't sleep. I was lying in bed, flipping over my stomach, flipping on my back, counting, blinking with my counts. For me, I was like, “I don't care if I look crazy as long as I don't feel crazy.”

When you first started therapy, did they want to throw medications at you or did they want to talk things out and see if they can trigger the patterns that were happening and leave it alone by itself?

They did want me to try Zoloft at the beginning, which I did not want to do. I've never taken an SSRI. I was too scared of the side effects. It seemed like something I couldn't control what the drug was doing to me. I wanted to make sure I had total control of what I was doing and I agreed that if therapy didn't work, I would consider doing a medication, but I wanted to try the least invasive option first. Even the therapist had told me, I was the most severe case they'd ever seen, they can't make me take a med. They were willing and it was good.

Good for you for researching the side effects and not taking someone's word for this is how you're going to get better. On the flip side of that, I did that. I was on SSRIs for brain injury, depression, hand tremors, and pain. The doctor was like, “This is how you're going to get better.” I take people's word for things and I should have researched and everything, but I took him because I took his word for it. I backtracked and realized that wasn't the way I wanted to go. It worked out in the end, but good for you for doing your due diligence and research. That's a great way to go about making that deal with the therapist like, “Let me try this. If it doesn't work out, we will go your route.”

We all do the best we can. We're stressed and we need guidance. We all can't be around advocates all the time. I do believe deep down, a lot of doctors want to do what they think is going to help us. I also know that sometimes not everyone is as informed. I knew more about my OCD than anybody else did. It's the control issue, but it was important to me that I was comfortable with what I was going to do and some things didn't work out well. For example, I was given Ativan, which is a benzo from a kind ER doctor, because she noticed I was anxious in the hospital for the umpteenth time fearing that my liver was going to fail as I usually did.

She said, “Why is your heart rate high?” I said, “I always have a high heart rate. I'm OCD.” She said, “Are you on meds?” I said, “No.” She said, “Here it is.” It was the shining bottle of Ativan with the glowing rays around it, where it's this beautiful thing coming at you. I was like, “Okay.” I love the idea of it being fast-acting. I could take it when I wanted to. I didn't have to do it every day. It seemed like a casual relationship that I could have with a med. Unfortunately, it did lead me down to a path where I was getting it across the border. I went to Mexico to get as much as I could get my hands on because I become dependent on it. I was self-medicating that way. It is a whole other can of worms there.

How did it go with the therapy? What was the timeframe where you started seeing some good results?

I did two appointments a week with my ACT therapist for a year. I would say around every month, I noticed an improvement. We had lots of great exercises because, with ACT, you would have tons of homework. What I remember, he asked me to cover my eyes with my hands. He said, “Open your eyes. What do you see?” I said, “Just black,” because it's totally dark. He said, “Great. Now, move it an inch away. What do you see?” I was like, “It was red, pinkish light coming between some things and those were my fingers.” He had me do it again and then he said, “What do you see now?” I said, “Now, it's trying to see the room out of my periphery.” He's like, “This is an example of when you step away from the problem and see it as separate from yourself that you will get a clearer picture of what's happening.” I felt trapped from my OCD. I felt like I was bullied by my brain. I was stuck inside. I love those parts of ACT where I could get an analogy and go, “That makes sense,” and apply it in a different way to my brain.

You're in college, was med school something you always wanted to do, or was this an avenue you went down after you started seeing some improvements in the OCD?

It was after I started seeing a doctor of naturopathic medicine.

Tell me about that. Is this the same therapist you were seeing?

No, it is a different person.

Tell me how you landed in a naturopathic office.

I was seeing a chiropractor and he asked me how my period was. I was like, “What are you doing asking about my menstrual cycle?” I said, “It's not great. I've got bad PMS.” He gave me black currant seed oil and B vitamins and a few other things. I slept great that night. I called him and was like, “I have many problems. What else can you do?” He was like, “You need to talk to my mom. She's a naturopathic doctor. She'll be in town this weekend.” I went to see her. She said, “What's wrong?” I said, “I've had whooping cough three times this year. I've had staph infections multiple times. I get ear infections, chronically. I've had strep twenty times,” including irregular strains that they couldn't type. I'm always sick with something. She goes, “What about your OCD?” I was like, “How did she know I have that?”

It was spooky. She went, “We can do stuff for that.” I was like, “I'm in therapy. I've already been told there's nothing I can do. I was told I can't get better. I've been told that meds will take the edge off at best. Realistically, therapy is a good way to help take a little bit of the edge, but I'm good.” She said, “No, we can do stuff.” I left with $500 with the supplements going, “It is worth a shot.” Within a month, my OCD was completely gone.

What supplements were you given that made an effect for the better? Was it something that you needed to keep doing every month or else they would come back?

She put me on a diet that was free of sugar, dairy, gluten, tomatoes, chocolate, turkey, and green bell peppers. A lot of specifics and she let me know these are not food allergies for everybody. These are not necessarily food sensitivities for everybody, but my body is reacting based on its chemical state to certain things. We take out those food triggers, inflammation is going to go down, which means the body is going to work better. We also dealt with my hormones. I have low progesterone. My thyroid was clinically hyperfunctioning. That was another big issue.

I'm guessing they did a full blood panel and everything to see what was going.

We did everything. I also wasn't sleeping at all, which I needed to deal with in therapy because it was psychological for me. I had panic attacks, seizures, and all kinds of things were happening. Once we figured out physiologically what was going on and then adding on the nutrients or the supplements to help modify those complications, then I was doing better. What was happening is that my progesterone was low partially because there's cortisol steal happening. My cortisol levels are constantly up. I'm always in fight or flight. My thyroid is under-functioning, which means my body is trying to get some salts, but it's not happening. The co-factors aren't there like the selenium. The B-vitamins are getting pulled from stress like they usually do. Getting all those things back in is going to help my body start to re-regulate.

We don't know if OCD is causing this or is this causing the OCD? The best thing to do is to get it all to stop and turn the barge around a little bit. I was taking a lot of amino acids, different vitamins, and a couple of herbs. The thing that people think about with the OCD is serotonin. They always think, “You have low serotonin.” For me, GABA was helpful. I've had other people and that's why I, as a doctor, always relapsed because I don't ever see a consistent pattern with OCD. It's specific. I've had people do great on L-DOPA. I've had people do good on melatonin and I've had people do good on 5-HTP, but not tryps, etc., and vice versa. It's changed over time. The supplements I was on back then are different now because the ones I went on, my chemistry shifted. I didn't need them anymore. We shifted to different supplements based on my new chemistry. If I go through a time of great stress, my chemistry will shift. My hormones will shift. My supplements will react differently. I do get checkups still twice a year so I can readjust based on how I'm doing.

After you met this wonderful woman, you enrolled, then in a naturopathic school.

I thought if I am lucky enough to come out 180 and I'm also interested in it and that's part of OCD. I did at least go hyper-focused on researching what I could do, what was wrong, what could help, and a coping mechanism of dealing with it, feeling like you have some control over your own care. I thought, “If I'm in school, I get to research all the time so that'll work.” That's why I went into med school because I feel like I get it. I've never wanted to be a doctor that was like, “I'm the one up, you're the one down. I'm the doctor, you're the patient. I'm going to help you. I'm going to fix you.” I wanted to be more of an advocate and more of someone that was like, “You tell me what's up, I'll do the labs, and we'll just see what comes up.”

You do meet those people and all of these doctors. They have your best interests, but it's almost like, you go in as a patient, you're looking up at them like, “They're up here, you're down here.” It’s like, “This is what you have to do.” That's a beautiful thing when the patient comes to you and says, “This is what's going on,” you absorb it, and you can find the best direction in order to take that person's healthcare. There's a powerful aspect of healing when somebody comes into your practice for OCD. They know your story. They know you've been through it. I feel like the healing power are strong in that setting because right off the bat, you can relate to everything they're saying.

It is important, not to say that everyone has the story, but I do think it brings us some connection and empathy. It took me a while to not want to walk through the mud with them and go through my trauma again. I wanted to hold their hand through it, but I didn't need to feel it with them. It's been another step of my own healing journey because I see people who were just like me and it brings up memories. It's interesting how things layer out and unfold and we never stopped getting better. That's what I tell people, it is not like you're unhealthy and then you have to get to the finish line and be healthy. There's a difference between being healthy and healing. Life is about healing. As long as you're going in that direction, little steps, you are healthy. Otherwise, it's this place we'll never get to, we'll constantly be trying to reach the finish line.

I have a couple of questions for you. The second one I want to talk about your practice and all the great work you're doing. I heard you mentioned a couple of times supernatural. How does that impact your life, your practice? What do you mean by the supernatural? I'm always interested in this if you could elaborate on that.

For me, when I say supernatural, I mean energies, ghosts, and things that are unseen. Being a sensitive kid because I am empathic, I always thought disasters were my fault. I couldn't watch the news because if there was a war going on, I knew I caused it in some way. That unseen thing, you couldn't prove it or disprove it. I had a hard time with the logic part and we always think we can use our logic to outsmart our OCD brain, but it never works. For me, I would see these pictures, like they were being claimed jumper as a kid and I would see these black and white photos on the wall. I couldn't look at them because I thought that I would connect with that spirit or something and it would haunt me or someone else and then energies as well. I read the book, The Secret, which was the worst thing I could've ever read. It's because it was this idea of magical thinking. It was like, “I want the parking space. If I want it bad enough, I'm going to get it.”

I could see that being a problem for somebody that has OCD.

It is a huge problem for someone with OCD because it was this concept of, “If I'm not thinking perfectly, then I did it wrong. It's my fault. I caused it.” There's a lot of self-blame and responsibility that happened with not thinking perfect. That was a huge aspect also of the concept of positive and negative energy. I'd heard many people talk about that growing up like, “Positive energy, that person's got negative energy.” I was like, “What are those things?” If I shook their hand and they had “negative energy,” now it's on me, I'm dirty and I've got to take showers.

Do you see auras in people or did you see that energy?

No. I got afraid. There's something called scrupulosity, which is this phobia of religion or that God is going to punish you harshly. It's common in OCD. I was concerned I was sinning a lot. If I didn't think perfectly, that was a sin. It was challenging to have a spiritual relationship or connection because of how much trauma I had experience thinking about it. For me, I abandoned intuition for a long time because I didn't want to have anything to do with the concept of unseen things, feeling, or anything. I had stepped back. I'm at a place where I do have a safe feeling, spiritual connection. A lot of that has to do with me being in the right place and the right time and at a place where I'm ready to deal with it. Before my OCD was bad, there are too many factors that could be misinterpreted and it is challenging.

This is eye-opening to me because I didn't know anything about OCD. A lot of people only see the physical side of it. They see people touching the doorknobs and doing that. It looks more like a physical thing where it's like snap out of it, where there are a whole different emotional component and psychiatric component that you're not seeing and difficult for the person how do they even jump in and explain it unless somebody's been through it.

For a while, I thought I was schizophrenic because the thoughts were strong. The thoughts were in my own voice. I thought, “Is that a voice?” In my head I got auditory hallucination. I saw Lord of the Rings and how tormented Gollum was clutching his head. I was tormented. I was like, “Do I relate to that?” There are a lot of people that experienced what is called Pure O, which is they have all the obsessive stuff but nothing physical. There are the people that are physical, but it did come up quirky. I would tap the counter with my fingertips just comes off nervous, but I was counting the whole time.

Dr. Julia, what does your practice look like?

I have it set up in two ways. I do a lot of telemedicine and it's focused entirely on mental health. I see a lot of people dealing with bipolar, schizophrenia, OCD, addiction and psychiatric med dependency. That's what I focus on in my physical practice here. I'm the Director of the Naturopathic Medical Department of the Alternative to Meds Center in Sedona. It's a holistic behavioral health center where we deal a lot with addiction. Most of the people coming in are trying to come off their psych meds. A classic example is someone who was put on an SSRI for anxiety, depression, and panic disorder. They'd been on that for a few years. Their issues are coming back, the meds are not working, or they don't want to be on it anymore, whatever they want to come off it. They tried to do that at home, but can't do it. I help people that are trying to come off their meds in a safe way using orthomolecular therapies like IV and supplements and cool stuff.

Do you have a lot of patients that families are bringing them to you and the patient doesn't necessarily know what's going on and vice versa where the patient is having schizophrenia, hallucinations, and everything they want? I'm sure you get a little bit of both. Do you have a success rate for the family that's like, “Please help out our son or daughter,” and they necessarily don't want to be there or don't know what's going on or don't want to open up to you?

That happens more than I would probably like. I usually have hard talks with the families letting them know I am not here to make their kid do anything. It's completely up to them. Some people come in with resistance like, “My family brought me here. I don't want to be here.” After a while, they'll decide for themselves, “I do want to do X, Y and Z, but not this.” Other people flat out like, “I don't want to be here. My parents made me.” I'm like, “Let's do what you do want to do,” and the parents have to deal with it.

How do you keep that person in the door? Obviously, you don't want to make them do anything you're doing, but I'm sure you have some good tools to engage them a little bit or find it a little bit interesting. Do you open up with your story?

Luckily, for me, it's incredibly rare if someone comes in and doesn't want to do anything. It's because deep down, everybody's got some interest in health because it has to do with each of us. We all like to hear our blood work. It's like your health horoscope. Most people love either sauna or doing fast or IV therapy. People dig IV therapy because they feel better right away. A lot of people don't know their symptoms are relevant. I've got a lot of people coming in, a little resistant but then I'll mention, “This looks like you've got some gut issues, your thyroid is this way, and your testosterone is doing this.” They'll go, “I do have gas and bloating.” They get a little bit more interested and like, “I didn't know that we could do something about that.” That's my favorite thing to see is when they get excited and they're ready to do a little bit of the work.

Tell me about IV therapy. What type of therapies do you do via IV?

What I do originally when people first come in is I run their blood work. I do functional blood testing. That means I'm not looking for disease states or markers. I'm looking for patterns. When I also run the plasma amino acids to get a sense of what the neurotransmitters are doing, it's indirect, but still get a clear picture of what people can and can't do and it's pretty cool. From that, I'll learn what they eat low in or deficient in, what co-factors like vitamins they might need. I can customize a bag for them, which is cool. I'll pay attention to the clinical symptoms that they're experiencing like insomnia. We'll deal with that too. Control is important to me. I want to make sure the bag is exactly what I want it to be so it's the most appropriate and customized thing for them. That's the beauty of it. If you can get a clean product without fillers, put an IV bag, and it bypasses the gut for absorption issues. They can feel good right away.

I'm sure you have people from out-of-state or coming from far away. How long do you recommend people assuming they have the time to spend with you before you send them off back home? I'm sure you give them things to work on at home, but people from far away, how long do you like to spend time with them for?

Typically, between 30 and 90 days because of all the adjunctive therapies we can do, like IV, sauna, foot baths, massage, exercise, supplementation, whatever else. We are able to do tapers a little quicker. If you have no support, you have to taper slow or you will experience withdrawal or what they call drug discontinuation syndrome. If we have all those different therapies that can clear things from the body, like a couple of hours in IR sauna can help sweat it out, that can make a difference and people can generally feel better while they're going through it. The other thing that people need to know is coming off medication, there are a few reasons why they're in withdrawal. Number one, it's because there are an actual drug dependency and craving. Number two, it's because every medication will deplete the body of a certain nutrient.

Benzos pull out melatonin, B1, magnesium, and a psychotic, a lot of carnitine, lithium pulls that loss salt. All those things come out. Let's say we have a kid who is seventeen, she's anxious and has panic disorder. She's maybe deficient in magnesium and B6. When those are low, people see anxiety. She goes on Xanax, that's going to give her a lot more GABA. She's going to feel pretty calm. We're not going to notice that nutrient deficiency anymore. We take her off the med, all of a sudden that nutrient deficiency becomes obvious. We have anxiety from the nutrient deficiency and from the withdrawal, which compounds into a worse than taper experience.

Tell me a little bit about your experience with NAD IV therapy.

I first did that myself when I was coming off of Ativan. I became dependent on Ativan when I was self-medicating and I couldn't get off it. It was at the low dose where it usually happens. I was taking the baby dose, experiencing those interdose withdrawals during the day. I was paranoid and sweating. I feel like I had the flu. I was anxious that I couldn't sleep. A friend of mine gave me a little bit of NAD and I felt normal. I didn't feel great. I felt, “I am okay. I can tolerate this feeling. I'm not super paranoid.” That helped me get to the next lower dose. I started using NAD in my practice and it's worked beautifully. It's an awesome therapy. It stands for Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide and it helps flush out a lot of what's going on in the liver. We don't experience recycling of the drug, the cravings aren't strong that way. It also boosts oxytocin by flushing calcium to the pituitary gland. It does a ton of different things that help people feel good with the tapering.

It sounds like it's a great therapy for people coming off any type of drug addiction, correct?


Is there anything else that you would recommend it for?

I use it for a lot of things. Burnout is a huge thing. When people come in and they're stressed, burnt out, and don't feel great, that's when I'll also look at it. I've done it in lower doses for certain autoimmune conditions. It can be helpful. That's why one reason sauna is great is because it does naturally boost your energy levels, not quite as therapeutically, but it's cool for depression, OCD, and anxiety. That stuff can be helpful. I do test people first to make sure that they're a good candidate because not everybody responds great to NAD and it can be expensive. I want to make sure that we are going in confident that it's going to do well.

I had a patient go out to a certain state for NAD therapy. They did it in conjunction with ketamine. Is that something you guys do? That was the first time I was hearing about that. Some people have great benefits from it. I was wondering, do you work anything with ketamine as well or no?

Not too much. I've seen some people love ketamine and it helps get them to that next level, past that depression slump they can't seem to get past. I've had other people that went in the kale and never came out. I'm cautious about it. I make sure that if people are going to do it, it's done thoughtfully. Ketamine is a glutamate antagonist. It blocks the glutamate receptors, which makes people feel calm. After that block is gone, we get another surge of glutamate, which gives them that energy and motivation that they don't have from the depression, so people can feel good. That's appropriate for some with major depressive disorder and certain other conditions, but if they're prone to anxiety and the glutamate levels are already high, that's not going to feel good. We have to make sure they're good candidates first.

Dr. Julia, where can people find you online, your practice, and everything like that?

I have two websites now, and the other one is

Did you also do a TED Talk or that's happening in the works?

I did a TED Talk a few years ago, which was a lot of fun. If you go to YouTube, Julia Britz’ TED Talk, it will come right up. I did that one on OCD and the therapeutic benefits of storytelling. A lot of times, we like to vent as people and part of the reason it helps is because it creates logic to the story and it strings it together, so it's not just bad feelings running around the brain. They do a lot of research and shown that if we can tell our life story over and over at least a few times to people, it will create sense to us because then we'll see the highs and the lows together. It won't seem like all gloominess so, then we can create a little bit of peace with it. I use my story during the talk to show how this works.

How did that even come about the TED Talk? Did somebody contact you?

I decided that I wanted to do it. It was maybe a week before the end of the submission deadline, I messaged and I said, “I want to do one.” They wanted a video. I didn't feel like making a video so I have a bunch of videos on my blog. I said, “Watch this one.”

Dr. Julia, at the end of every show, I like to ask all my guests, what is one piece of advice that has resonated with you that you would like to give the audience? It could be anything.

Commit to not quitting, especially with anxiety. It is such a quick feeling. It's intense, high-pitched, rush, and it makes us feel like we have to get rid of it as quickly. In reality, that will create an impulsive behavior. It's easier if we can breathe and calm down slowly, take a moment to mindfully decide what we want to do. The six practices in therapy, it applies to everything because we will have those moments where we want to say, “I'm done. I can't do this anymore. This is too hard. I'm going to do whatever they said.” For me, I've had to say it a lot, but it resonates all the time so commit to not quit.

Dr. Julia, thank you for coming on. I loved your story. This is why I created the show because it's such an amazing story. You're doing such great work. I would love to have you back on anytime.

Thank you. It's my pleasure.

Thank you.

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