How is neurofeedback used to treat OCD?

OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder) is a relatively common psychological disorder that causes people to frequently suffer from obsessive thoughts, on the one hand, and to perform repetitive actions in an attempt to get rid of the discomfort they generate, on the other hand. Fortunately, today there are therapeutic resources to intervene effectively in this pathology, and in this case we will focus on one of the best: neurofeedback.

So below we will see a series of advantages that it offers us the use of neurofeedback to treat people at risk for obsessive-compulsive disorder.

What is OCD?

Obsessive-compulsive disorder is a psychological disorder that significantly interferes with a person’s normal development in daily life and it is characterized by the presence of mutually reinforcing obsessions and compulsions.

Obsessions often consist of the constant appearance in the person’s mind of unwanted mental images or thoughts, which produce destabilization in the form of crises due to stress or anxiety; and compulsions manifest as repetitive, stereotyped behaviors that the person repeats after experiencing the obsession to try to remove it from the mind and immediately alleviate the discomfort.

Obsessive-compulsive disorder affects between 1 and 3% of the world’s population and significantly damages their mental health. Its evolution deteriorates the quality of life of the person in a few months, and if it is not treated, it can last for years or decades.

In addition to this, this type of disorder has comorbidities with other psychological disorders, such as depression, anxiety, tics, self-harming behaviors, emotional disorders, and body dysmorphic disorder.

The symptoms presented by people with OCD are very diverse, because not everyone experiences the disorder in the same way. However, there are a fairly shared series of symptoms at a general level which are grouped into three categories.

How does neurofeedback work?

Neurofeedback is a non-invasive brain training technique that consists of recording and monitoring the patient’s brain activity to then modify those non-adaptive neuronal activation patterns that cause psychological alteration and favor its maintenance over time.

It’s about a resource used to treat psychological problems related to anxiety, stress and psychological sequelae in the form of trauma, since it helps the person to reintegrate into their memory system the anxious memories associated with these experiences that destabilize them when they are evoked. This happens through the combination of the logic of psychotherapy, on the one hand, and direct intervention in the brain, on the other, without using invasive or painful procedures. It has characteristics similar to systematic desensitization, in that it helps the person to face these mental states that generate discomfort and to “tame” them by linking them to a state of calm.

In other words, an accompaniment is provided in the process by which the patient reconfigures his neural networks linked to the memory or to the mental images of what produces the discomfort, so that these mental contents cease to drive the person towards a state nerve hyperactivation. .

The key to how neurofeedback works is to the modification, through conscious training, of all types of negative neural activation patterns that can occur in the brain. The person is trained in the management of emotions and the management of anxiety.

How can neurofeedback treat cases of OCD?

This is why it is such an effective technique for treating cases of OCD, a psychological disorder that has its origin in a certain brain functioning that does not conform to the patterns that should be normal in any person, and that leads him to always reflect the same “mental paths”, giving rise to the vicious circle of obsession, compulsion, obsession, etc.

To modify or restructure this brain dysfunction in people with OCD, the first thing is done a study and evaluation of the current patterns of the brain of the person suffering from this alteration.

This assessment can be carried out through the application (without surgery of any kind) of a series of sensors on the person’s scalp that measure their brain activity and whose results are reflected in real time on a visible screen. by both therapist and patient

This screen marks a price when the person manages to change their brain patterns with the help and instructions of the therapist, in this way they acquire new knowledge that helps them change their negative brain patterns.

With the implementation of neurofeedback in cases of OCD, the likelihood of occurrence of dysregulated patterns of brain activity is reduced and the waves related to states of relaxation and calm are enhanced, which contributes to improving the psychological state. of the patient. Through the application of this technique for cases of obsessive-compulsive disorder, we obtain reduce excess fast brain waves in the posterior areas of the brain (those that generate states of rumination and obsession) and we replace them with slow waves typical of states of calm and relaxation.

Looking for a treatment for OCD?

If you are interested in starting a therapeutic neurofeedback approach applied to OCD, contact us.

In Neurocenter we have the experience, knowledge and equipment necessary to respond to your case with full guarantees.

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