Biological approach to explaining OCD

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  • The Biological Approach to explaining OCD
    • Genetic
      • Look at idea that OCD is inherited and passed down through families
      • Lewis- OCD patients have parent/siblings with OCD
      • COMT gene more more commonly found in patients with OCD, gene may be passed down
      • Genetic predisposition rather than cause
      • Diathesis- stress model, genetic predisposition, but needs to interact with environment
    • Neural
      • Chemical imbalances root of problem
      • Abnormally high levels of dopamine and seratonin
      • Abnormal brain circuit- worry loop
    • Worry Circuit
      • One region of brain thought to be responsible for OCD. (hypothalamus)
      • Normally, minor worry signals ignored
      • OCD: Brains ability to filter out worry messages damaged- worry messages sent back and forth
      • Minor things constantly obsessed over. Brain scans show overactivity in these areas in people with OCD
    • Drugs
      • Therapy that works to repair chemical imbalance in brain
      • Corrected by drugs which increase/decrease levels of neurotransmittters in brain
      • SSRI's increase availability of seratonin in synapse. Low levels involved in worry circuit
      • Tricyclics increase levels of seratonin and noradrenaline
      • Anti anxiety drugs increase effect of GABA- works to quieten/inhibit neurotransmitters. Increasing its effect reduces neurotransmitter activity and makes person feel more relaxed
    • Evaluation
      • Effectiveness of anti depressant drugs: supports idea of OCD having biological cause. Increase seratonin, reduces symptoms
      • Cause and effect: Do abnormal levels of neurotransmitters cause OCD/ other way round?


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