Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a mental illness characterized by unreasonable thoughts and fears that induce the affected person to perform repetitive actions. The compulsive, repetitive behavior reduces the fear and anxiety related to the obsessive thoughts. Afflicted people may attempt to stop themselves from performing these behaviors, but the underlying fears simply build until the person is compelled to perform them. OCD can severely disrupt the ability of a person to function in daily life. Persons with the condition can benefit greatly from professional OCD training, which we provide with neurofeedback at our center in Orlando.
Diagnosis of OCD
People affected by OCD have distressing, recurrent, unwanted thoughts, most commonly about contamination/dirt, orderliness, and sometimes horrific thoughts about aggressive or sexual acts. These intrusive thoughts cause such distress that the person then performs ritual, self-soothing acts, such as washing their hands until they bleed, obsessive cleaning and tidying, repetitive checking and counting, repeating certain words or phrases, and/or following a rigid, inflexible schedule. OCD symptoms usually first manifest during adolescence and tend to worsen when the patient is under stress. The severity varies from fairly mild to completely debilitating. Its cause is still unknown, but it may be primarily genetic.
Traditional OCD training revolves around medication and cognitive behavioral therapy. A combination of an anti-depressant drug and therapy can help afflicted persons to manage their symptoms. Of course, all medications can cause unpleasant side effects, and patients with OCD may need to try several different medications before finding an effective one.
Neurofeedback can be used to help patients with OCD to re-train their brains to stop the obsessive thoughts from occurring. During neurofeedback OCD training, electrodes are placed on the scalp, over the parts of the brain involved in processing emotions. These electrodes are placed by simply attaching them to the skin with an adhesive. The electrodes pick up electrical signals from the brain and visually display them where the patient can see them. Through practice, the patient learns how to change the brainwave pattern associated with obsessive thoughts to a more normal brainwave pattern. Over time, the patient can learn to perform this action in daily life and stop obsessive thoughts from occurring. Once the obsessive thoughts have stopped, the need to perform compulsive behaviors and rituals goes away.
How Effective Is It?
Because each patient is unique, OCD training sessions have to be adjusted. A typical session lasts for an hour, and patients may need as few as 9 or as many as 90 training sessions to achieve relief. One study reported that 92 percent of patients achieved relief from their OCD symptoms, and over 50 percent continued to exhibit improvement two years after completion of their training. Because it is completely non-invasive, neurofeedback OCD training does not come with the side effects that may accompany other forms of training.
If you have struggled with OCD, neurofeedback OCD training with the professionals at Advanced Health and Performance Institute could help. Contact our office in Orlando today to schedule your first appointment and learn more.