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Is OCD A Chemical Imbalance In The Brain & Which Part Of The Brain Is Responsible For OCD?

OCD or obsessive-compulsive disorder is a type of mental illness, which results in obsessions or repeated unwanted sensations or thoughts. It can be described as an urge to do something again and again. Some people have only obsessions (thoughts) while others have compulsions (behaviors or actions). Some people, however, can have both of these-obsessions as well as compulsions, hence the name, obsessive-compulsive disorder. This condition can affect the daily life of an individual significantly and can cause a lot of distress.(1,3)

Is OCD A Chemical Imbalance In The Brain?

Many studies conclude that OCD occurs as a result of some neuro biological problems. It has been found that the brains of people with this condition function or act in a different way as compared to people without this disorder. However, despite so many studies being conducted on this subject, the exact cause of this condition has not yet been established.

Other factors that might be responsible for causing this condition or increasing the risk of this condition are the age of the person it is more commonly seen in childhood, genetic predisposition, autoimmune diseases, behavioral problems, cognitive factors, neurological factors, environmental factors etc.(2)

Which Part Of The Brain Is Responsible For OCD?

There are many studies going on around OCD. The foremost studies imply that the parts of the brain that are involved in OCD are the orbitofrontal cortex, basal ganglia and/or the limbic system. However, this is a hypothesis still and, needs a lot of further research to be established as a fact. The exact causes of OCD are not yet known. However, there are many speculations and theories regarding the same. These include-

Changes In The Biology- The changes in your own body or brain functions may be responsible for OCD

Genetic Predisposition- OCD may be associated with a genetic predisposition. However, what genes are associated with OCD, this has yet to be determined.

Environmental Factors- Factors pertaining to the environment, like infections, may be responsible for leading to OCD. However, more research pertaining to this theory is needed.

Risk Factors For OCD

Some factors may increase the risk of developing or prompting OCD. These may include-(3)

A History- If you have parents or other members in the close family with this condition, then you might be at an increased risk of developing OCD.

Stress- An immensely stressful or distressing experience or event may prompt OCD. Your intrusive thoughts may get triggered due to a depressing or stressful incident

Having Other Mental Health Conditions- Other mental health conditions like anxiety disorder, substance abuse, bipolar disorder, etc. might increase your risk of developing OCD.

Complications Of OCD- OCD can lead to many complications, like other health issues, poor performance at work, school or poor social and personal relationships, diminished quality of life, increase in the suicidal ideas and tendencies, etc.(3)

Prevention Of OCD- There is no guaranteed way to prevent OCD, the pinpoint cause for OCD is not yet established. However, starting on the correct treatment as soon as the symptoms develop, can ensure that OCD doesn’t progress or worsen, and the quality of life can be improved.(3)


According to many studies, OCD occurs as a result of some neuro biological imbalance. It is also found that the brains of people with OCD function or act differently than those without this disorder. That said, the exact cause for OCD is still not known. The parts of the brain that might be responsible for OCD are the orbitofrontal cortex, basal ganglia and/or the limbic system. However, there is still a requirement for more research and studies regarding this hypothesis. OCD cannot be completely cured. However, with proper and timely treatment, the symptoms of this condition can be controlled and improved.


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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:January 10, 2020

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