Psychology Biological Explanations of OCD

Summary of biological explanations of OCD, including genes and neurotransmitters.

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Biological Explanations of OCD
Meta-analysis of twin studies Mz twin with OCD means other is 2x more
likely than Dz twin to develop OCD
Suggests a genetic link
Supported by a study that found an 87% concordance rate for OCD in Mz twins
Can't be purely biological ­ not 100% concordance rate
Nature/nurture ­ is the rate higher for Mz twins because they would be brought up more
similarly than Dz twins? Same experiences ­ learnt behavior
Serotonin low levels associated with OCD
Support SSRIs that increase serotonin alleviate OCD symptoms and SSRIs
that have less effect on serotonin levels do not improve OCD symptoms
Dopamine high levels associated with OCD
Support reduction in dopamine positively correlated with reduced OCD
Do these abnormal levels cause OCD, or does OCD cause these abnormal levels?
Reduces the production of the COMT enzyme, so Dopamine is not recycled
efficiently, leaving more Dopamine in the synapses, resulting in high levels
Support Research has confirmed the link between the COMT gene and
Real life application fertilized eggs could be scanned for this gene and
aborted if gene is found ­ Socially sensitive research, as many would see this
as unethical
Alternative could be gene therapy to "turn off" this gene ­ Reductionist as it assumes a
simple link between OCD and gene. Could be psychodynamic, behavioural etc
Suggests with this gene you will have OCD (genetically predisposed)
But research has found there is a cognitive element to OCD, so has the
freewill to change their behavior if desired.



Did not actually give names of actual studies means research comes across as anecdotal this does not gain credit in AQA exam. :(

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