OCD is one of the mental disorders with the characteristic symptoms of obsessive-compulsive acts and thoughts.
A person who suffers from compulsive acts feels an inner urge to do certain things. If someone suffers from obsessive thoughts, the same thoughts always arise (they circle around in the head, are almost everywhere). The person concerned recognizes that these thoughts or actions are senseless or exaggerated and tries to defend themselves against the prevailing inner urge.(1)
Quite a few people, who are not considered ill, feel the need for excessive cleanliness or perfect order at certain moments. However, the symptoms only get to disease if action, thinking or relationships with other people are negatively influenced by the condition.
Are You Born With OCD?
Both biological and psychological factors play a role in the development of obsessive-compulsive disorders.
Neurobiology shows that organic causes can also be responsible for obsessive-compulsive disorders. For example, OCD symptoms occur when there are disorders in certain areas of the brain. Examinations with imaging methods showed that obsessive thoughts and compulsive actions in the case of functional disorders occurred in the area of the so-called limbic system and in the frontal lobe of the brain.
OCD is a prevalent and serious debilitating disorder that affects people from childhood to adulthood. Genetic contribution to OCD etiology is evident, but the interference of the environment associated risk factors cannot be ruled out. The disorder is likely to have a complicated inheritance pattern.
Many scientists assume that it is difficult to conclude from the current evidence that people born with OCD. This is because individuals having a biological OCD predisposition from birth may never develop the condition in their later life, while some may develop OCD with similar genetic and biological predispositions.
A genetic factor as the cause of OCD is also likely. If an identical twin has an obsessive-compulsive disorder, in 60-80% of the cases the other twin also shows compulsive symptoms. In dizygotic twins, this connection is not shown to a clear extent, but, 25 to 30% of these children develop OCD. Generally, the likelihood of developing an OCD increases with closer hereditary relation with an OCD patient.
From a cognitive point of view, people with OCD have a very specific way of thinking. Their thoughts are often shaped by guilt, uncertainty, doubt, and negativity. In general, negative feelings, especially fear, seem to play an important role in the development of obsessive-compulsive disorders.(2)(3)(4)
Can OCD Affect Your Memory?
In OCD, people often have repetitive behavior that prompts the notion that these individuals have some form of memory disorder. They forget things and that they have already performed the work or action.
However, no scientific proof can be established to support this theory of OCD patients having verbal memory problems (recollecting verbally stored information or that in words form). But it has been frequently noticed that OCD patients suffer from the lack of special, visual, and nonverbal memory.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder can lead to poor academic performance, since children may have difficulty focusing on school tasks because of the compulsions and obsessions they have. The OCD symptoms also consume a substantial time of these children, often making them exhausted and affecting their sleep.(5)(6)
The Manifestation Of The Symptoms
Obsessive thoughts can manifest themselves in the form of compulsive impulses, compulsive fears, or compulsive brooding. OCD patients usually imagine very unrealistic catastrophic scenarios or feel the impulse to do things that they actually dislike. So, there is often the fear of harming yourself or others. In the case of forced brooding, the person concerned about thinks through certain events again and again. For example, the thought may arise again and again whether the stove has been switched off or not. In contrast to the control requirement, there is no check whether the stove is really off.
Often, obsessive thoughts and compulsive actions occur at the same time. OCD often begins in childhood or among young adults. The patients suffer greatly from their obsessive-compulsive symptoms so that in many cases the course of the disease leads to depressive symptoms, which can also result in suicide. OCD patients are often socially ignored. In extreme cases, this leads to isolation and even neglect.(7)
- Burguiere E, Monteiro P, Mallet L, Feng G, Graybiel AM. Striatal circuits, habits, and implications for obsessive–compulsive disorder. Current opinion in neurobiology. 2015;30:59-65.
- Krebs G, Heyman I. Obsessive-compulsive disorder in children and adolescents. Archives of disease in childhood. 2015;100(5):495-499.
- Brander G, Pérez-Vigil A, Larsson H, Mataix-Cols D. Systematic review of environmental risk factors for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: A proposed roadmap from association to causation. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews. 2016;65:36-62.
- Genetics IOCDF, Arnold PD, Askland KD, et al. Revealing the complex genetic architecture of obsessive–compulsive disorder using meta-analysis. Molecular psychiatry. 2018;23(5):1181.
- Veale D, Page N, Woodward E, Salkovskis P. Imagery Rescripting for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder: A single case experimental design in 12 cases. Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry. 2015;49:230-236.
- Batistuzzo MC, Hoexter MQ, Taub A, et al. Visuospatial memory improvement after gamma ventral capsulotomy in treatment refractory obsessive–compulsive disorder patients. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2015;40(8):1837.
- Hirschtritt ME, Bloch MH, Mathews CA. Obsessive-compulsive disorder: advances in diagnosis and treatment. Jama. 2017;317(13):1358-1367.
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- What Is The Chemical Imbalance That Causes OCD & Can It Lead To Schizophrenia?
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