OCD, or obsessive-compulsive disorder, is a condition in which a person has recurring thoughts, ideas, or obsessions that make them feel compelled to do something repetitively (compulsions). OCD affects a person’s day to day functioning, as they repeat patterns of behavior or seek reassurance regarding recurring unwanted thoughts. For individuals that suffer from OCD, life can involve quite a bit of stress and anxiety, both in being triggered to perform a compulsion and in enacting the compulsion itself. There are several different types of OCD, with a few of them focusing on contamination, checking, cleaning, violent thoughts, and more.

There are several modes of treatment for those who suffer from OCD, but many of those methods involve medications and therapy, which help to some extent, but do not always relieve the symptoms. Scientists are continuing to explore the ways in which a person’s biological makeup with OCD differs from those that do not suffer from the condition.

A recent study conducted by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) found that brain inflammation is significantly more developed in individuals who suffer from OCD than those who do not. Scientists examined 20 individuals with OCD and 20 individuals who didn’t, as a cross-comparison. When examining their brains, researchers found that patients who suffered from OCD had approximately 30% more inflammation in their brain than the non-OCD group. To find this, scientists used a form of brain imaging called positron emission tomography (PET) to see the inflammation. From there, they used a chemical dye to measure the activity of immune cells called microglia, which are active in inflammation, in six areas of the brain that contribute directly to OCD.

Scientists are continuing to research inflammation in the brain and potential low-cost medications that can directly affect those areas of inflammation for people who suffer from OCD. This could lead to newer and more effective modes of treatment that help lessen the inflammation in the brain, reducing the overall compulsions found in OCD.

OCD compulsions can cause a lot of stress and anxiety, and there are several effective medications out there to help relieve these symptoms. Researchers have not stopped there, though. They are continuing to discover new ways to help people who suffer from this condition. Staying informed and speaking with a medical professional are a few great ways to learn more about new technology being discovered as it relates to treatment for OCD.


Without treatment, living with OCD can feel like an impossible challenge. Avalon Malibu, a New Vista Behavioral Health treatment center, is one of California’s only certified primary mental health residential treatment programs. Providing exceptional care to heal mind, body, and spirit, the Avalon program is trusted to provide trusted results.

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