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OCD Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Support Group & Information

OCD Introduction How Common is OCD What Causes OCD? Symptoms of OCD
Other Features of OCD Co-existing Illnesses with OCD Treatment for OCD Getting Help for OCD
Research for OCD Medications for OCD Side effects of OCD Medications Behavior Therapy and OCD
Psycotherapy and OCD Back to Home Page

OCD Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Chat Support Group

Research For OCD

There is growing evidence that Obsessive Compulsive Disorder represents abnormal functioning of brain circuitry, probably involving a part of the brain called the striatum. OCD is not caused by family problems or attitudes learned in childhood, such as an inordinate emphasis on cleanliness, or a belief that certain thoughts are dangerous or unacceptable. Brain imaging studies using a technique called positron emission tomography (PET) have compared people with and without OCD. Those with OCD have patterns of brain activity that differ from people with other mental illnesses or people with no mental illness at all. In addition, PET scans show that in patients with OCD, both behavioral therapy and medication produce changes in the striatum. This is graphic evidence that both psychotherapy and medication affect the brain.

Research into treatment for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is ongoing in several areas; ways of increasing availability of effective behavior therapy; cognitive therapy; relapse prevention; and methods of reducing medication in patients who have a history of being unable to tolerate medication.  Neurosurgery is a new approach to treatment-refractory OCD.  In the very few centers where neurosurgery have been performed as a clinical procedure, candidates are generally restricted to those who have failed to respond to conventional treatments, including behavior therapy and pharmacotherapy.

In addition to research into treatment modalities, NIMH researchers are conducting studies into possible linkage of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, (OCD) to some autoimmune diseases (diseases in which infection-fighting cells, or antibodies, turn against the body, trying to destroy it). Other studies compare behavior therapy, pharmacotherapy, and a combination of both.

Anecdotal reports of the successful use of electro-convulsive therapy (ECT) in Obsessive Compulsive Disorder have been published over the past several decades. Most often, the benefit from ECT has been short lived, and this treatment is now generally restricted to instances of treatment-resistant OCD accompanied by severe depression.

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