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Can A Brain Scan Show OCD & How Does It Affect The Brain?

Mental disorders such as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) are often inter-related to “chemical imbalances. Imbalances in neurotransmitter systems such as neurochemical serotonin, as well as in the neurochemicals dopamine and glutamate, possibly appear in OCD.

Although severe studies and researches were conducted to determine the cause of the occurrence of this disorder, no theories know exactly what causes OCD. However, they assume some chemical imbalances or changes or abnormalities in the brain most likely instigate this condition.

Can A Brain Scan Show OCD?

Can A Brain Scan Show OCD?

By examining brain scans of several children and adults, U-M scientists recognized deformities common to individuals who suffer from obsessive-compulsive disorder. They have misconceptions such as obsessed with certain things like

Feel responsible for causing a horrific event or making an awful mistake.

Unnecessary sexual feelings which often related to sexual orientation or have a feeling of exclusive sexual attraction to prepubescent children.

Since the researchers could not examine the cause of this disorder, there was a lack of effective treatment options. Nevertheless, the new studies were more helpful because it could uncover the specific brain areas that are linked to repetitive processes common to patients with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.

Brain scans provided a window into the OCD patient’s brain functions and paved the way for suitable therapies to come out of this condition. They report that individuals with OCD and their families have underlying malfunctions in their brains that can be genetic. U-M researchers focused on the cingulo-opercular network — a compilation of brain parts connected by arteries of nerve networks deep in the base of the brain.(1,2)

These are decision making areas of the brain often involved when senses something is off. To be more precise, this study states the brains of the OCD patients get stuck in a loop of unwantedness that makes them perform wrong acts. This treatment is cognitive-behavioral therapy. CBT is a goal-oriented psychotherapy treatment that aims to improve mental health. It can help people find new ways to behave by changing or modifying dysfunctional emotions, behaviors, and thoughts.

Although, the treatment is both an expensive and time-consuming process, yet the patients can end up having their symptoms lessened and able to live a better lifestyle. CBT has one vital merit; obsessive-compulsive disorder patients generally have problems controlling their obsessions or compulsions or both because they cannot stop listening to their thoughts.

However, CBT was found to be most effective and most patients had long-term benefits.3

How OCD Affects The Brain?

Imaging, surgical, and lesion experiments indicate that the prefrontal cortex (orbitofrontal and anterior cingulate Cortices), basal ganglia, and thalamus are engaged in the clinical diagnosis of OCD.

They also state that OCD is caused by transmission challenges between the brain’s deeper structures and the front part of the brain. These sections of the brain principally utilize serotonin to transmit. Therefore, boosting the concentrations of serotonin in the brain can improve to ease OCD signs.

When you have OCD, your brain is factually under damage, says new clinical research. The inflammation (body’s response to injury or harm) is aggravated when OCD acquaints tried to repel their impulses. In order to combat the condition and help improve the disorder, research was conducted by the Center of Addiction and Mental Health led by senior author Mr. Jeffrey Meyer.

This research developed medications to target brain deformities which were found very effective in treating OCD. Patients identified with OCD should understand as much as they can about this syndrome. This will eventually help them improve the symptoms and lead a stress-free life.(4,5)


  1. Stuck in a Loop of ‘Wrongness’: Brain Study Shows Roots of OCD https://labblog.uofmhealth.org/lab-report/stuck-a-loop-of-wrongness-brain-study-shows-roots-of-ocd
  2. Is OCD a chemical imbalance in the brain? https://www.verywellmind.com/is-ocd-caused-by-a-chemical-imbalance-2510485
  3. What part of the brain affects OCD? https://www.psychguides.com/ocd/
  4. Largest-Ever Cortical Imaging Study of OCD Patients Offers http://beyondocd.org/ocd-facts/what-causes-ocd
  5. Is OCD a Brain Disorder? – International Obsessive Compulsive Behavior https://iocdf.org/about-ocd/what-causes-ocd/

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:January 8, 2020

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