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How Neuroplasticity Affects Thought Patterns & Disorders

As you face changes in your life, your brain also changes. Whether you are learning new skills, such as playing an instrument, or simply adjusting to new situations, such as moving to a new city, your brain’s ability to adapt is what allows you to grow throughout life. This ability is neuroplasticity. 

Like any form of change, though, neuroplasticity can lead to both negative and positive results. For example, someone experiencing an extremely stressful period of life can develop negative thought patterns and associations, leading to poor stress management and the risk of Mental Health Disorders like Mood Disorders or Addiction Disorders. However, that same person can work with a Licensed Clinical Psychologist to restructure negative thought patterns and build healthier thoughts and associations, leading to lasting Mental Health treatment. 

Lasting cognitive change—both adaptive and maladaptive—is intertwined with neuroplasticity and the neural pathways your brain develops over time. Learn more about how neuroplasticity affects thought patterns and disorders as well as the role it plays in the treatment of Mood Disorders, Personality Disorders, and Addiction Disorders with this overview. 

Defining Neuroplasticity 

Neuroplasticity is a key part of understanding how the brain, neurons, and nervous system interact and function together. It involves processes such as the formation of neurons, the remodeling of dendritic branches, and the creation or elimination of new synapses. Through these restructuring processes, the brain alters its own neural connections, leading to the strengthening or weakening of various skills and cognitive abilities. 

Neuroplastic changes can happen as a result of physical events, such as brain injuries, or mental and emotional circumstances, such as stress. Therapy can also change your neural pathways, creating hope for lasting treatment after serious brain injuries or in the face of Mental Health Disorders. 

Neural Pathways Present Mental Health Challenges 

When the brain creates or strengthens negative neural pathways, it can lead to the development or worsening of Mental Health Disorders such as Mood Disorders, Personality Disorders, and Addiction Disorders. A common example of this is negative self-image. Everyone acts hard on themselves once in a while, especially in the face of hardship or failure. But if someone repeatedly engages in negative self-talk, they are building negative neural pathways that strengthen feelings of guilt, shame, and low self-esteem.  

Those neural pathways become lasting thought patterns that influence your emotions and behaviors. They can lead to Anxiety, Depression, and other Mental Health Disorders that revolve around or contribute to a negative self-image. Furthermore, those negative neural pathways are so strong that it becomes extremely difficult to engage in positive alternative thought patterns. This makes it harder to break the cycle of negativity and treat the Mental Health Disorder.  

Using Neural Pathways to Our Advantage 

Negative neural pathways can worsen Mental Health Disorders, but positive neural pathways can help treat them. While you cannot directly control the formation of neurons and neural pathways in your brain, you can work with a Licensed Clinical Psychologist to encourage the formation of more positive thought patterns and associations. This allows for the formation of healthier thoughts, emotions, behaviors, and cognitive skills—which aid in the treatment of Mental Health Disorders.  

Effective Mental Health treatment targets the root of Mental Health Disorders to create lasting change. Through a comprehensive understanding of neuroplasticity, Licensed Clinical Psychologists can go deeper than surface-level symptoms and directly address the thought patterns that influence key cognitive functions. This leads to a restructuring of how the brain works, creating lasting positive change and recovery for patients. 

The Benefits of Neuroplasticity in Psychological Treatment 

How exactly does neuroplasticity affect thought patterns and disorders within the scope of Mental Health treatments? There are several benefits to understanding and utilizing neuroplasticity in clinical settings. By strengthening neural pathways, patients can build mental resilience, improve cognitive flexibility, and enhance emotional regulation skills.  

These abilities lower the risk of developing new or worsening Mental Health Disorders. They are also key to creating lasting cognitive change and achieving better mental and emotional well-being.  

Because of this, positive neural restructuring aligns closely with the goals of evidence-based Mental Health treatments such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. By combining a comprehensive understanding of neuroplasticity and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and other treatments, Licensed Clinical Psychologists help their clients restructure negative thinking, associations, and behaviors.  

This is particularly useful when treating Mental Health Disorders that revolve around significant negative changes to thought patterns, such as Mood Disorders, Personality Disorders, and Addiction Disorders. These types of Mental Health Conditions weaken certain neural pathways, leading to distorted thought patterns, weakened emotional regulation, and poor behavior and impulse control. Through neuroplasticity and treatments like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, patients can replace these negative patterns with more positive, productive thoughts and associations. 

Mood Disorders 

Mood Disorders have a detrimental effect on your mood, emotions, and self-image. These disorders include Depressive Disorders and Bipolar Disorders, which can severely distort your view of yourself and the world around you.  

By building more productive neural pathways, patients with Mood Disorders achieve a more realistic view of themselves, overcoming their unfounded feelings of guilt, shame, and self-hatred. Building positive neural pathways also helps patients heal from emotional dysregulation and better modulate their affect to handle negative emotions and stress in a healthier, more productive manner. 

Personality Disorders 

Rigid thought patterns are a key feature of Personality Disorders like Borderline Personality Disorder, Narcissistic Personality Disorder, Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder, Dependent Personality Disorder, Antisocial Personality Disorder, and Avoidant Personality Disorder.  

These strict thought patterns are the result of strong but maladaptive neural pathways. They hinder one’s ability to regulate emotions, empathize with others, maintain healthy relationships, and create a stable, realistic image of themselves. Through neuroplasticity, patients can unlearn the strict thinking that causes these challenges. 

Addiction Disorders 

Substance Abuse or Behavioral Addictions develop because the maladaptive behavior turns into a habit. Without professional intervention, addictive substances and behaviors encourage the brain to weaken healthy neural pathways and strengthen negative ones. This, in turn, strengthens the Addiction Disorder, creating a cycle that is hard to break. But, through evidence-based treatment from Licensed Clinical Psychologists, patients can reverse the process with new healthy habits, neural pathways, thought patterns, and behavioral patterns.  

Lasting Mental Health Treatment at Blair Wellness Group 

Working with a Licensed Clinical Psychologist who utilizes neuroplasticity within robust, adaptable Mental Health treatment models helps you find lasting treatment for your Mental Health Disorders. Find a Licensed Clinical Psychologist servicing Los Angeles, Irvine, Beverly Hills, Newport Beach, Bel Air, Century City, Brentwood, Westwood, Huntington Beach, Mission Viejo, Aliso Viejo, and the surrounding areas when you contact Blair Wellness Group to see how our evidence-based treatment plans can help you. 

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Our Anger Management Therapists in Los Angeles offer evening and weekend appointments for our Concierge patients. Call us today at 310-999-4996 to discuss how Blair Wellness Group can help you overcome anger issues as well as other disorders, such as depression, anxiety, relationship challenges, addiction issues, and personality disorders. 

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