Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a potentially debilitating condition that impairs a person’s ability to control recurring thoughts and urges to repeat certain behaviors.
Many of these patients suffer from fears of germs, impulses to check locks and doors, and worries about aggressive outbursts.
One form of psychotherapy that is effective for the condition is known as cognitive-behavioral therapy, or CBT, which teaches patients ways to resist their obsessions and reduce their compulsions.
A UCLA study published in the journal Translational Psychiatry showed that OCD patients experience improved symptoms with CBT, and their brain scans demonstrated augmentation in the extent of the connections between several brain regions.
Senior author Dr. Jamie Feusner, who is the director of the Adult Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Program at UCLA’s Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior, said, “The changes appeared to compensate for, rather than correct, underlying brain dysfunction.”
Stronger connections between different brain regions often reflect more effective communication between cells within the brain.
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