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Brain surgery may be last hope for some OCD sufferers

Most Pennsylvania residents don't think twice about turning off the lights before leaving the house or washing their hands before eating. These seemingly simple tasks, however, often become part of an all-encompassing ritual for individuals who suffer from a rare mental condition known as obsessive compulsive disorder.

Individuals who suffer from OCD describe having repetitive and intrusive thoughts which compel them to act out in certain ways. Prescription medication along with behavioral therapy is effective in treating some cases of OCD. However, an estimated 25 percent of OCD sufferers report that nothing seems to quiet their minds and urges to engage in ritualistic behavior. For these individuals, research indicates a new brain surgery may be an option in relieving OCD symptoms.

Individuals who suffer from OCD often describe their mental disorder as being in control. For these individuals, life becomes a never-ending cycle of rituals and behaviors that are often viewed by many as odd and distracting. For these reasons, many individuals who are not able to control their OCD are unable to work and must rely upon disability benefits to cover monthly living expenses.

While many medical professionals no longer recommend brain surgeries to cure mental conditions, it may be the best and only option for OCD sufferers who have been unresponsive to medications and therapy. These types of surgeries are commonly refered to as psychosurgery and are not without risks and potentially dangerous side effects.

Results of the most recent study on OCD patients who underwent psychosurgery show a success rate of 37 percent. For the study, researchers examined the post-surgery results of 19 patients. Of these, the majority experienced significant improvement with their OCD symptoms. Two patients, however, experienced extremely negative side effects of the procedure including partial paralysis and mental impairment.

Individuals who suffer from OCD should work with their primary doctor to discover the best treatment options. For some, psychosurgery may hold the key to finally being freed from the obsessive thoughts brought on by OCD.

Source: Yahoo News, "Brain Surgery Is an Option for Patients with Severe OCD, Study Suggests," Rachael Rettner, June 3, 2013

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Our Philadelphia firm and attorneys have received numerous accolades in the area of workers' compensation law. Several of our attorneys have been recognized by their peers and listed in Super Lawyers since 2006. The Super Lawyers process recognizes the top lawyers in their fields in Pennsylvania.

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Serving Philadelphia Since 1936

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