Neuroplasticity: A key concept in managing and overcoming OCD



Neuroplasticity defined: "The brain's ability to reorganize itself by forming new neural pathways throughout our lives. Neuroplasticity allows the neurons, also knwon as nerve cells in the brain to compensate for any injury we may sustain or disease and to adjust their activities in response to new situations or to changes in the environment".

Neuroplasticity and how it helps OCD

You may have heard of the saying, our brain is made of plastic. Of course, it's not actually made of plastic, but the term neuroplasticity, or brain plasticity refers to how our brains can physically change throughout our lives to adapt to new, different situations throughout our life times. Our brain has an amazing ability, whereby through changing our behaviour we can essentially reprogram the way our brain works, physically. More specifically this relates to how the brain can reorganise, and create new neural pathways at any given time in our lives. There is also evidence to suggest that when we learn how to change our own brains, the changes can match those that occur when takin medication.

Neuroplasticity and Intensive Treatment

In our experience, intensive therapy and OCD go hand in hand. The very nature of the condition, being born out of habit means that over time we have programmed our brains into the way that they currently function today. This process is known as 'operant conditioning.' Our intensive program allows us to provide you with skills for life, which can aid you in breaking any dysfunctional habits that dont work for you. In fact these habits are likely to be driving much of your current suffering. Mindfulness techniques can also aid in changing the structure of our brains, and we can show you how. Find out more about the importace of intensive therapy for OCD on our 'intensive format and what's included page'.

Neuroplasticity and co-morbid conditions

Neuroplasticity plays a big part in many other co-morbid conditions. Many of these conditions that currently exist in the latest Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) can be treated using this knowledge of neuroplasticity. Those that have suffered from OCD have also noticed great improvements in social anxieties, self esteem, generalised anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol dependency, eating disorders and self harm. Although the way that OCD, as well as many co morbid conditions manifest may be very different from individual to individual, many of the underlying processes are the same. For this reason, many clients start therpy with the aim to conquer OCD, and leave feeling less depressed and higher in confidence, as well as experiencing great improvements in their co morbid condition.