Obsessive-compulsive disorder, or OCD, is a mental health disorder tied to uncontrollable behavioral patterns and thoughts that often lead to feelings of uneasiness if not carried out. For example, some with OCD feel the need to constantly clean. This may involve washing their hands numerous times per day, even when completely unnecessary. They’ll likely become distraught if kept from doing so.
OCD affects approximately 2.2 million adults in the United States, according to the nonprofit Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA). This equates to 1 percent of the country’s population. The ADAA adds: “One-third of affected adults first experienced symptoms in childhood.” In fact, the average age for symptoms to typically manifest is 19, but there are a significant number of instances in which a child experiences such warning signs at a much younger age, too.
Every case of OCD varies, depending on the individual and the severity of his or her symptoms. It’s important to look for treatments that could assist with the management of this disorder and address specific challenges related to their condition. One treatment is neurofeedback.
Neurofeedback therapy is all-natural, and can be utilized by adults and children of all ages. It trains the brain to regulate itself via positive reinforcement, and involves measuring a patient’s brainwave patterns with specialized sensors while he or she watches a nonviolent movie or TV show. Such passive engagement for the 30-minute session promotes brainwave regulation.
Learn more about how neurofeedback therapy works.
Research indicates that neurofeedback therapy positively affects those with OCD.
A 2000 study published in the Journal of Neurotherapy: Investigations in Neuromodulation, Neurofeedback and Applied Neuroscience saw significant improvements in two patients’ conditions after receiving neurofeedback therapy.
The first patient “showed dramatic improvements in not only OCD symptoms, but also in depression, anxiety, somatic symptoms, and in becoming extroverted rather than introverted and withdrawn,” the study states.
“In follow-ups of the two cases at 15 and 13 months after completion of treatment, both patients were maintaining improvements in OCD symptoms,” the report continues.
The study's results suggest that neurofeedback therapy is a viable treatment for people diagnosed with OCD, as well as other disorders often associated with it.
More recent research echoes the previous study’s conclusions.
A 2011 study shared by the U.S. National Library of Science examined “the clinical course of the OCD symptoms,” and evaluated neurofeedback’s effects on those with the disorder.
The study included 36 drug-resistant participants who had been diagnosed with OCD. Each received nine to 84 neurofeedback sessions.
“Daily sessions lasted 60 minutes,” the study explains, “where 2 sessions with half-hour applications with a 30 minute rest given between sessions were conducted per day.”
Out of those 36 participants, 33 experienced improvements in their OCD symptoms, as measured on the Yale-Brown obsessive-compulsive scale.
Neurofeedback therapy can be used as a sole treatment for people with various conditions, including OCD, but also in conjunction with additional therapies, to maximize a patient’s results. While more research should surely be conducted to further assess the effectiveness of neurofeedback, past and present studies are reaching promising conclusions.
The Northport Wellness Center offers neurofeedback therapy to patients with OCD, as well as other health disorders and conditions, including but not limited to depression and anxiety, ADHD and autism. Contact Us today to learn more.