Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a mental disorder characterized by repetitive thoughts and behavior. In OCD, distressing ideas, images, or impulses enter a person’s mind repeatedly and against their will, causing anxiety and distress. A person with OCD may be unable to resist engaging in compulsive acts or behaviours that are not enjoyable that are repeated over and over.
These obsessions or compulsions occur frequently enough to become a problem in the person’s life, especially if they are acted upon. OCD usually comes on in childhood or adolescence, and continues throughout a lifetime.
The mental health diagnostic manual (DSM V) describes OCD based on the following criteria:
|Recurrent and persistent thought, urges and images that are experienced as intrusive and unwanted, and that in most individuals cause marked anxiety or distress|
|The individual attempts to ignore or suppress such thoughts, urges or images, or to neutralize them with some other thought or action (e.g. by performing a compulsion)|
|Repetitive behaviours (e.g. hand washing, ordering, checking) or mental acts (e.g. praying, counting, repeating words silently) that the individual feels driven to in response to an obsession or according to rules that must be applied rigidly|
|The behaviours or mental acts are aimed at preventing or reducing anxiety or distress, or preventing some dreaded event or situation; however, these behaviours or mental acts are not connected in a realistic way with what they are designed to neutralise or prevent, or are clearly excessive|
OCD occurs in the US at a rate of 2.3%, which means if effects some 7,500,000 people in the US alone. The conventional treatments for OCD include talk therapy and medication. Usually a SSRI (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor) and/or an anti-anxiety medication is prescribed. Therapy can include CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy), and other types of therapies designed to desensitize the nervous system as well as challenging negative thinking.
It stands to reason that neurofeedback would be of benefit in a disorder that is so clearly brain based. This is in fact being demonstrated in various studies:
qEEG brain scans have shown that people with OCD have abnormal activity in the parts of their brain associated with emotional processing, as well as an imbalance of serotonin. With Neurofeedback, we can train the areas of the brain that have been studied and found to be imbalanced to be balanced in terms of brainwave frequency. We can measure and re-measure brain waves in different areas of the brain using qEEG brain scans, to clearly show an objective indication of progress.
If you know someone or you yourself need treatment for OCD, or conventional treatments aren’t working, contact us at Synergy Neurofeedback, and we will be happy to help you. We even have at home training options available.