AANS Neurosurgeon | Volume 29, Number 2, 2020


Behavioral Therapy Increases Connectivity in Brains of People with OCD

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UCLA researchers report that people with obsessive-compulsive disorder, when treated with a special form of talk therapy, demonstrate distinct changes in their brains as well as improvement in their symptoms.

In the study, people with OCD underwent daily cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT, to learn how to better resist compulsive behaviors and to decrease distress. Within one month, they had developed extensive increases in the strength of the connections between regions of their brains — which may reflect the participants gained new non-compulsive behaviors and thought patterns.

The results bolster the argument for making CBT more widely available for treating the disorder, which affects more than one in 50 people in the U.S. The study also could help guide future treatments that are faster or more effective, which would lower health care costs.

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