Neurofeedback For OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder)

Neurofeedback for OCD

If you suffer from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), you know how difficult it can be to manage your anxiety, repetitive behaviors, aggression, etc., and live a normal life. You may have tried medication and therapy, but nothing seems to help.

Neurofeedback is a new treatment that is showing promise for people with OCD. This treatment method is also known as Neurotherapy or EEG biofeedback.

This 2003 study describes how Neurofeedback was used to reduce OCD Symptoms by 89% as measured by internationally-recognised OCD test the Padua Inventory, and OCD had not returned more than 12 months after the Neurofeedback training:- Hammond, D. C. (2003). QEEG-guided neurofeedback in the treatment of obsessive compulsive disorder. Journal of Neurotherapy7(2), 25-52.

If you haven’t heard of Neurofeedback before, it’s a form of biofeedback. Biofeedback is a form of therapy that uses technology to measure and track your body’s responses to certain stimuli (like stress or relaxation).

In the case of Neurofeedback, sensors are used to measure your brain activity and then provide feedback that can help train your brain to function more normally. It is an innovative form of therapeutic intervention that utilizes brain waves to help individuals address their mental health challenges.

Neurofeedback is an effective form of treatment for OCD as it allows individuals to target and retrain the specific part of the brain that is involved in obsessive-compulsive behavior.

Neurofeedback techniques can help the individual identify the sources of their obsessions and compulsions, helping them to better control these behaviors.

What Parts Of The Brain Are Affected By OCD?

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a complex condition that affects the brain in various ways.

Researchers have identified several areas of the brain that appear to be affected by OCD.

Prefrontal Cortex

One of the main areas that are affected by OCD is the prefrontal cortex. Located at the front of the brain, the prefrontal cortex plays an important role in decision making and planning complex behaviors. It also helps to regulate emotions and keep our impulses in check.

In people with OCD, this area may be less active than normal and unable to effectively control behavior. This can lead to intrusive thoughts, compulsive behaviors, social inappropriateness, and difficulty making decisions.

Anterior Cingulate Cortex (ACC)

This part of the brain is located deep in the frontal lobe and plays an important role in regulating emotion, decision making, and cognitive functioning. It also helps to process pain signals sent from other parts of the body and helps to regulate our response to stressors.

People with OCD have been found to have reduced activity in this area of the brain, resulting in increased anxiety and intrusive thoughts. This decreased activity can lead to difficulties making decisions or considering different options, as well as a tendency towards compulsive behaviors.

Basal Ganglia

The basal ganglia are actually made up of several interconnected structures located deep within the brain. This collection of parts plays an important role in motor control, learning, and reward-seeking behavior. It is also involved in regulating our response to stress and fear.

People with OCD have been found to have increased activity in this area of the brain which can lead to passionate preoccupations and compulsive behaviors.

The abnormal activity in the basal ganglia can also lead to increased anxiety, as the basal ganglia helps to regulate our response to threatening or stressful situations. If the basal ganglia is not functioning properly, then it can be difficult for people with OCD to manage their worries and anxieties appropriately.


The thalamus is important for regulating our sleep-wake cycle. People with OCD often struggle with insomnia, as the thalamus becomes hyperactive during times of heightened stress or arousal. This can lead to difficulty sleeping and may result in individuals feeling tired and sluggish during the day.

Is Neurofeedback Safe?

Yes! Neurofeedback is a safe and non-invasive procedure. It has been used for decades to treat a variety of mental and physical health conditions, including ADHD, depression, anxiety, PTSD, autism spectrum disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), chronic pain, and addiction.

While neurofeedback does not always produce immediate results, it is not associated with any serious side effects and can be an effective therapy in helping people manage their symptoms.

Neurofeedback has also been found to be a safe, efficient way to address cognitive performance and improve overall brain functions. It allows individuals to gain a greater understanding of their body’s functioning and helps them regulate their system better.

How Does Neurofeedback Work For OCD Patients?

For individuals dealing with OCD, Neurofeedback provides them with a way to actively manage their symptoms and obsessive behaviors through biofeedback techniques.

During a neurological assessment, specialized electrodes are placed on the scalp and they measure electrical impulses in the brain as well as other nervous system activities. Each individual’s results are then used by the therapist to uncover any imbalances or irregularities within their nervous system.

Neurofeedback can help OCD patients by providing them and their therapist with access to real-time feedback data from their own brainwaves, which helps them become aware of the specific patterns and activities that keep perpetuating the disorder.

All of these problems are related to specific brainwaves. Neurofeedback trains the person with OCD to create healthier brain waves, which can then eliminate the symptoms. The client does not have to know anything about brainwaves for the process to work. He or she is simply hooked up to the computer and engages with the Neurofeedback game or exercise.

As the individual becomes more familiarized with the various pathways in their physiological response, they can then work towards finding new therapies, feelings, and behaviors that may be better suited for managing symptoms more effectively.

It’s basically retraining the brain to respond to stressors differently while learning to identify and recognize when certain patterns of behavior are triggering unhealthy responses. This process of retraining the brain is known as neuroplasticity, which is the process of forming new neural pathways and rewiring existing ones.

Neurofeedback therapy, when done right, can help individuals with OCD become more aware of their environment and how they react to it. This awareness can be then used to modify their behavior, allowing them to better manage their symptoms.

How Many Training Sessions Of Neurotherapy Is Needed?

The answer to this question depends on a variety of factors, including the goals of treatment, the type of neurotherapy being used, and the individual’s response to it. Generally speaking, most people will need between 10 and 15 neurofeedback sessions in order to start seeing benefits.

However, some people may require more sessions in order to reach their desired outcome. In any case, it’s important to speak with your neurotherapist about the best course of action for you.

They will assess your condition and suggest the most appropriate number of training sessions based on this information.

Neurofeedback therapy, when done in conjunction with other forms of psychotherapy such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), can be an effective treatment for OCD.

Can Neuroplasticity Cure OCD?

Neuroplasticity is the brain’s ability to change, adapt, and reorganize itself in response to experience. It has been studied extensively in recent years, with scientists discovering that this remarkable phenomenon can lead to significant improvements in health and well-being.

But does neuroplasticity have the potential to cure OCD?

While it’s possible that neuroplasticity could be used to treat OCD, it’s important to note that the exact mechanisms of action remain unclear. Neuroplasticity is a complex process that requires certain conditions in order for change to occur.

But the studies and results of neuroplasticity treatments are promising. One of the newest neuroplastic treatment methods used to treat OCD is neurofeedback. Neurofeedback involves using feedback from the brain itself, in order to help it rewire and change its patterns over time.

Because neurofeedback encourages neuroplasticity, it has the potential to result in longer-lasting adjustments in brain functioning. Many clinicians see patients who have achieved long-term benefits over many months or years, however, the research has not been conclusive.

Case Studies Of Using Neurofeedback To Treat OCD

Neurofeedback has seen remarkable success in treating OCD symptoms. Through this technique, individuals can learn to regulate their own emotions and compulsive behaviors, creating an empowering sense of control over their condition.

Case studies have demonstrated remarkable progress in patients with OCD that have used Neurofeedback, with a significant decrease in symptoms such as fearful, intrusive, and obsessive thoughts and unwarranted rituals.

In addition, neuroimaging studies have indicated a physical rewiring of the brain thanks to an increased ability to control emotional responses associated with the disorder.

While many treatments such as exposure therapy exist to treat OCD, Neurofeedback presents a novel solution for dealing with this increasingly common mental health issue that can improve quality of life significantly.

Why Your Doctor May Not Have Told You About Neurofeedback Therapy

Neurofeedback therapy is a form of non-medicinal, non-invasive treatment that has proven to be effective in helping people manage and reduce their symptoms of mental and neurological disorders.

It’s been around since the 1950’s and has “…decades of scientific research.”

Unfortunately, many doctors are unaware of the usefulness of neurofeedback therapy or are unwilling to recommend it due to a variety of reasons.

  • They haven’t read enough research about neurofeedback therapy.
  • They prefer allopathic medicine (the use of drugs).
  • They simply don’t have enough training in treating psychological disorders.

This means that even if you are struggling with anxiety, depression, sleep problems, autism, ADD/ADHD, and other mental health issues, your doctor may not have suggested neurofeedback therapy as a viable treatment option.

But like most any other new form of therapy, many physicians are unsure to recommend treatment.. Neurofeedback therapy is no different, and its effectiveness may not be understood or accepted by the traditional medical community yet.

But, as I mentioned earlier, there are more and more studies being conducted on the effectiveness of neurofeedback therapy.

So even though your doctor may not be aware of the science behind this new form of therapy, it is worth doing your own research to understand more about it. After all, neurofeedback therapy could be the solution you have been looking for to help reduce your symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder.

For more information about our counseling and neurotherapy services, contact us today via email or call us at 404-449-1236.

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Laurie Newcomb, MA, LPC, NCC, CCTP

Licensed Professional Counselor, MA, LPC, NCC, CCTP My goal for each therapy session is to respect the client, allow them to be heard, appreciate where they are coming from, and help guide them through their struggles or issues. My approach to therapy is to utilize an integrative approach with clients. What this means is that I utilize different approaches for different people, as we are not all alike. Whether you're suffering from depression, anxiety, trauma, or any other kind of challenge, you want a therapist you feel comfortable with and who can help you bring about change. I have experience working with substance abuse, anxiety, depression, trauma, and life transitions. I am personally passionate about assisting clients who have endured trauma in their life. I am certified in trauma therapy and continue to work with clients with substance abuse.