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Inflammation In The Brain Could Be Cause Of OCD, Other Mental Health Conditions

Inflammation is normal. Humans experience inflammation in their blood, their brains, their joints, and their muscles. The body responds to injury with inflammation, for example, which is why we swell up and bruise when we hit something. Inflammation can be a healthy response in the body. Inflammation can also be a negative response in the body. When inflammation lasts too long or if inflammation happens when it shouldn’t be happening, it can cause problems. Inflammation in bone marrow and in the heart for example, can lead to disease.

According to Medical News Today, “Growing evidence suggests that certain psychiatric conditions may involve neuroinflammation, some of which include major depressive disorder, schizophrenia, and bipolar.” New research finds that there could be a tie between brain inflammation and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, the article reports.

JAMA Psychiatry published a study that examined brain inflammation and OCD. Using brain imaging technology and positron emission tomography, the researchers discovered that the six brain regions that contribute to obsessive-compulsive disorder have significantly more inflammation in patients with OCD than those without OCD. Forty total patients were used for the study, half with OCD and half without it.

What Does This Mean For Treatment?

Most mental health conditions are relatively misunderstood. Advances in brain imaging technology and neuroscience have opened the door for researchers to gain a deeper understanding of, quite literally, what goes on in the heads of people living with mental illness. At the least, this breakthrough in understanding obsessive-compulsive disorder reveals that advancements in anti-inflammatory medications could be helpful in reducing symptoms.

There are ways to manage an anti-inflammatory diet and lifestyle as well. For those living with symptoms, giving them an opportunity to live life with mental health conditions like obsessive-compulsive disorder, and creating a balanced lifestyle of scientific treatments, therapeutic treatments, and lifestyle changes is important. Much research has revealed that changes in diet and nutrition, as well as regular exercise and therapy, can help reduce the severity of symptoms.


Symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder most often include consistent intrusive thoughts and a driving need to participate in routine, compulsive disorder in order to cope with the thoughts. Obsessive-compulsive disorder can make it difficult to live a quality life when it goes unmanaged, especially when it is combined with drug and alcohol addiction. Harmony Place offers dual-diagnosis treatment for OCD and substance use disorders. Our full continuum of care offers beyond exceptional treatment from detox to transitional care. For a private assessment, contact us today.