Possible OCD Causes
According to the Mayo Clinic, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is classified as a type of mental illness which causes a person to perpetually worry or fear something that is not commonly bothersome to others (obsessions). To stop these thoughts, a person affected by OCD feels the intense urge to perform the same tasks over and over (compulsions). For example, a person who has a fear of intruders may double-check that his door is locked over and over again. What causes this mental disorder – we will explore the answer in this article.
Experts have yet to uncover any definitive OCD causes; however, Beyond OCD reports there are many possible theories which include the combination of genetic, behavioral, neurobiological, environmental and cognitive factors that may trigger this disorder.
Neurobiological – When taking pictures of the brain and its functioning, researchers have been able to demonstrate that those with OCD have specific areas of the brain that function differently when compared to those who do not have OCD. These findings suggest that OCD symptoms may be related to errors in communication among different areas of the brain, such as the front and deeper parts of the brain. Abnormalities in the chemicals that send messages between brain cells, such as dopamine, serotonin and glutamate, may also be possible causes of OCD.
Genetics – The National Institutes of Health funded a study which examined DNA; the results suggested that this disorder may be related to an uncommon mutation of the human serotonin transporter gene. It is believed that those with severe OCD possibly have a second variation in this gene.
Also, approximately 25% of those with OCD have an immediate family member who is affected by this disorder as well. Additionally, twin studies reveal that when one identical twin has OCD, the other is more likely to be affected as well. These studies performed on twins with OCD estimate that approximately 45-65% of the risk for developing OCD is associated with genetics.
Behavioral – Learning theorists have suggested that behavioral conditioning may be an OCD cause as these factors develop and maintain obsessions and compulsions. This means that a person’s compulsions are actually learned responses that help him to reduce or prevent discomfort or anxiety experienced as a result of urges or obsessions. For example, if a person experiences unrealistic thoughts or fears related to germs, he may wash his hands to decrease the anxiety associated with the obsession. As this hand washing ritual decreases the anxiety temporarily, it is likely this person will continue to engage in hand washing when the same thoughts or fears occur in the future. Therefore, the compulsive behavior of handwashing persists and becomes an excessive ritual.
Cognitive – Cognitive theorists believe those affected by OCD have beliefs that are dysfunctional or faulty and the misinterpretation of intrusive fears or thoughts is what causes the development of obsessions and compulsions. The cognitive model of OCD suggests that everyone experiences thoughts that are intrusive. However, those who suffer from OCD misinterpret these thoughts as being personally significant, highly important, revealing of self or having consequences they believe are catastrophic. Repeatedly misinterpreting these thoughts and fears results in the development of obsessions, which become so distressing that individuals will continually engage in compulsive behaviors to stop or resist them.
Environmental – Certain environmental factors are believed to cause the onset of OCD. These factors include a traumatic brain injury, a severe viral or bacterial infection, parenting styles and stress. However, as of yet, no research has confirmed that child-parent interactions or stress actually causes OCD. These may be factors that are responsible for triggering the onset of OCD in individuals who are predisposed to it.
If you suffer from OCD, you may never be aware of the exact cause for your disorder. However, the multitude of treatment centers and support groups that are available can help you understand your disorder and help you in the management of your symptoms to prevent your everyday activities from becoming disrupted. Furthermore, pharmaceutical trials for OCD in Los Angeles may be helpful in managing symptoms. To learn more about these clinical trials, click http://www.calneuroresearch.com.