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Anxiety and Stress Disorders

Brain Damage and Developing Mental Disorders

02/08/2006

Question:

Can brain damage result from experiencing OCD and stress (interfering with living everyday life) for an extended period of time (such as several years)? If so, is the damage reversible once a person has learned to overcome OCD and return to living life more normally? If any damage to the brain can occur, how significant is it and how will it affect the way a person thinks and their personality?

Answer:

It is important to know that OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) is felt to be a disease with brain abnormalities -- there are chemical imbalances and even structural abnormalities being discovered with emerging technologies, such as functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI).  It is most likely that these brain abnormalities are responsible for causing the OCD, not the other way around.

Treatment for OCD consists of both medications and therapy -- there are excellent cognitive (thinking) and behavioral (acting out) methods for controlling the compulsions and obsessions associated with this type of anxiety disorder.

Take a look at the anxiety weblinks to find more information about OCD.

For more information:

Go to the Anxiety and Stress Disorders health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Nancy   Elder, MD Nancy Elder, MD
Associate Professor
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati