We have all heard the saying “your obsessing over nothing” and while this might be the case it’s much easier said than done when you struggle with obsessive compulsive disorder. OCD afflicts 3.3 million adults and about 1 million children and adolescents in the United States.
The brain is a very complex structure. It contains billions of nerve cells — called neurons — that must communicate and work together for the body to function normally. Neurons communicate via chemicals called neurotransmitters that stimulate the flow of information from one nerve cell to the next. At one time, it was thought that low levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin were responsible for the development of OCD. Now, however, scientists think that OCD arises from problems in the pathways of the brain that link areas dealing with judgment and planning with another area that filters messages involving body movements.
Obsessive symptoms include:
- Fear of dirt or contamination by germs
- Fear of causing harm to another
- Fear of making a mistake
- Fear of being embarrassed or behaving in a socially unacceptable manner
- Fear of thinking evil or sinful thoughts
- Need for order, symmetry, or exactness
- Excessive doubt and the need for constant reassurance
Compulsive symptoms include:
- Repeatedly bathing, showering, or washing hands
- Refusing to shake hands or touch doorknobs
- Repeatedly checking things, such as locks or stoves
- Constant counting, mentally or aloud, while performing routine tasks
- Constantly arranging things in a certain way
- Eating foods in a specific order
- Being stuck on words, images or thoughts, usually disturbing, that won’t go away and can interfere with sleep
- Repeating specific words, phrases, or prayers
- Needing to perform tasks a certain number of times
- Collecting or hoarding items with no apparent value
How can Neurofeedback help with OCD?
We know that OCD is a dysregulation in the brain that makes the individual feel “stuck” and with Neurofeedback we can train the neurons and open pathways that are associated with emotional reactivity and control. The training will allow for the brain to free suppression and the person can function in a more optimal manner. Neurofeedback provides the brain with feedback on how well it is working and through this feedback the brain will improve and help ameliorate the symptoms that are associated with OCD.