CBT Improves Brain Connectivity in People With OCD

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a chronic long-lasting disorder with excessive thoughts (obsessions) which lead to repetitive behaviors (compulsions). OCD can be debilitating and can severely affect the daily functioning. The major treatments available for OCD are the administration of SSRIs (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors) and CBT (Cognitive Behaviour Therapy). A Research team led by Dr. Jamie Feusner from the University of California, Los Angeles conducted a study on how CBT influences or improves brain connectivity in people diagnosed with OCD. The findings of this study were published in the Journal Translational Psychiatry.

For the study, 43 people with OCD and 24 without OCD (control group) were recruited. All the participants with OCD received ERP (exposure and response prevention) based CBT on an individual basis. Both the groups, people with OCD who received CBT and control group underwent functional MRI (fMRI). The final observation by the research team was people who underwent CBT showed a significant increase in brain connectivity between different brain networks, which include cerebellum, caudate nucleus, putamen, dorsolateral and ventrolateral prefrontal cortices.

Dr. Jamie Feusner said, “The changes appeared to compensate for, rather than correct, underlying brain dysfunction. The findings open the door for future research, new treatment targets, and new approaches.

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