Describe and evaluate the biological approach to OCD 12 mark essay plan

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Describe and evaluate the biological approach to OCD (12 marks)
Point 1 Genetic explanations
Candidate genes
o Researchers have identified genes which create vulnerability for OCD
o Some of these genes are involved in regulating the development of the
serotonin system
o E.g. some genes could be implicated in the efficiency of transport of
serotonin across the synapses
OCD is polygenic
o OCD isn't caused by one single gene but there are many involved
o Taylor (2013) analysed findings of previous studies and found evidence that
up to 230 genes may be involved in OCD
o Genes that have been studied in relation to OCD include those associated
with the action of dopamine as well as serotonin, both neurotransmitters
believed to have a role in regulating mood
Different types of OCD
o One set of genes may cause OCD in one person but a different group of genes
may cause the disorder in another
o The origin of OCD has different causes
o Evidence to suggest that different types of OCD may be the result of
particular genetic variations, such as hoarding disorder and religious
Point 2 Neural explanations
Role of serotonin
o Neurotransmitters are responsible for relaying information from one neuron
to another
o If a person has low levels of serotonin then normal transmission of mood
relevant information doesn't take place and mood/other mental processes
are affected
Decision making systems
o Some cases are associated with impaired decision making
o This in turn may be associated with abnormal functioning of the lateral side
of the frontal lobes of the brain
Lateral frontal lobes
o Responsible for decision making and logical thinking
o Parahippocampal gyrus associated with processing unpleasant emotions
functions abnormally in OCD

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A02 Evaluation
Point 1 There is good supporting evidence
Nostadt et al (2010)
o 68% of identical twins shared OCD
o 31% of non identical twins shared OCD
Suggests genetic influence on OCD
Point 2 Too many candidate genes
Several genes are involved in OCD and each genetic variation only increases risk of
OCD by a fraction
The consequence is that a genetic explanation is unlikely to ever be very useful
because it provides little predictive value
Point 3 Some supporting evidence
Anti depressants help…read more


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