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'A condition characterised by obsessions and/or compulsive behaviour'

Behavioural characteristics:

  • Compulsions are repetitive: Sufferers feel compelled to repeat a beahaviour.
  • Compulsions reduce anxiety: The vast majority of compulsive behaviours are performed in an attempt to manage the anxiety produced by obsessions.
  • Avoidance - Characterised by their avoidance as they attempt to reduce anxiety by keeping away from situations that trigger it.

Emotional characteristics

  • Anxiety and distress - The urge to repeat a behaviour creates anxiety.
  • Accompanying depression - Low mood and lack of enjoyement in activities.
  • Guilt and disgust - Over minor moral issues, or disgust, which may be directed against somehting external or oneself.

Cognitive characteristics

  • Obsessive thoughts - Unpleasant recurring thoughts.
  • Cognitive strategies to deal with obsessions.
  • Insight into exessive anxiety - Catastrophics thoughts about the worst case scenario that might result if their anxieties were justified.

Explaining OCD: The Biological approach

Genetic explanations

  • Researchers have identified genes, which create vulnerability for OCD, called candidate genes. 
  • OCD seems to be polygenic, meaning that…


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