First, let’s discuss the bio-chemical means that this happens. The mechanics of it are still a question to science, but the theory is that there is a problem with the serotonin levels in the brain. Most of the medicines used to treat this are SSRI’s—selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors. They balance the levels of serotonin in the brain. Now, is this serotonin imbalance causing the symptoms or are the symptoms causing the serotonin imbalance? This is another question that is not answered, though it is interesting to see that MRI’s of a person with OCD is obviously different from a normal person’s. However a person who has OCD but has undergone behavior modification in the way of systematic desensitization has the same healthy MRI of a normal person. We will talk about systematic desensitization in more depth later, but basically it is a way of re-training your brain by confronting your fears. That means that you can change the chemical make-up of your brain through changing your behavior and thoughts.
This is not actually as far-fetched as it may seem. The brain works on a series of chemical and electrical signals. Thoughts, emotions, memories, are all stored in your brain through chemical and electrical means. That means that, when we change the way we think, we can change the chemical processes that are going on in our brain. We will learn how to change the way we think, to curtail the emotional responses, to replace fearful thoughts with thoughts that bring about different chemical reactions in the brain.