New Hope for Resistant OCD
New research suggests that a treatment called “high-frequency deep transcranial magnetic stimulation (dTMS)” may help treatment-resistant patients overcome symptoms of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. The treatment involves a system where magnetic impulses are delivered to parts of the brain which reinforce OCD-related thoughts and behavior patterns. The impulses stimulate these areas of the brain, which process appears to allow patients to be much more receptive to the intervention of medications and psychotherapy (especially Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy) which they are already receiving.
“Just stimulating these areas by itself creates a window for plasticity changes in the circuit,” said study investigator Abraham Zangen, PhD, professor of neuroscience at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel. Zangen theorizes that once the areas are stimulated, patients can learn more healthy patterns. “Once you learn something, you change the circuitry [and] then it’s there. It’s like a memory and even old people can create new memories,” he said.
It’s unclear from the article how widespread this type of treatment will become. But it seems to offer some hope that the patient sitting in your office who is struggling with an extremely resistant set of OCD symptoms may be able to, with the help of appropriate medication management and your caring presence, conquer this condition after all.
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