What Causes OCD?

Imagine that each time you had an unwelcome thought you became fixated on it so much that it caused you great fear and anxiety. Now, imagine that in order to free yourself of those feelings, you had to complete a series of formulaic actions each time you had the upsetting thought. This is the recurrent process that afflicts those with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) each day. If you have OCD, you are most likely aware that this is made more complicated by the fact that professionals are still trying to determine why the condition occurs. There is not yet a concrete answer, though research has provided some insight into OCD causes. This article will be directed at those who may be receiving Los Angeles OCD treatment (or wish to), and want to learn more about the reason(s) behind the illness.

What Causes OCD?

Biological Causes

One theory is that OCD symptoms develop due to communication issues between structures at the front of the brain and those deeper within it. The International OCD Foundation notes that this disruption may cause abnormalities in the transference of messages by the neurotransmitter (chemical messenger) serotonin. Serotonin is responsible for the regulation of mood, among other things. The use of neuroimaging technology has suggested that circuit issues in the brain of those with obsessive-compulsive disorder improve when serotonin-regulating medication is used.

Genetic Factors

In terms of genetic causes of OCD, there is a strong link between heredity and the disorder. In a study funded by The National Institute of Mental Health, it was concluded that approximately 25% of those with OCD symptoms have a relative who also has the mental condition. Additionally, the likelihood is even higher for those who have an identical twin with obsessive-compulsive disorder. Those with an identical twin who had OCD experienced it themselves 45-65% of the time, notes The National Institute for Mental Health.

Behavioral and Cognitive Causes

Some researchers believe that OCD symptoms are, in part, the product of behavior and cognition. Learning theorists attribute the disorder to reinforced conditioning. For example, if a person experiences an intrusive thought that causes anxiety, followed by washing of the hands that temporarily alleviates anxious feelings, the probability that the same technique will be used in the future increases. The behavior is repeated time and time again, eventually becoming obsessive.

Similarly, cognitive theorists believe that those with obsessive-compulsive disorder have dysfunctional beliefs, leading them to misinterpret intrusive thoughts. Though everyone has intrusive thoughts, those with OCD assign far more importance to them than the general population. This means that individuals with the disease think that these thoughts are personally significant, speak to one’s character, or will have catastrophic consequences. Repeated misinterpretation of intrusive thoughts is theorized to lead to obsession, which can only be neutralized by a ritualistic behavior. There are six different dysfunctional beliefs associated with the development of OCD symptoms, compiled by The Obsessive-Compulsive Cognitions Working Group.OCD causes

“Inflated responsibility: a belief that one has the ability to cause and/or is responsible for preventing negative outcomes.”

“Over importance of thoughts (also known as thought-action fusion): the belief that having a bad thought can influence the probability of the occurrence of a negative event or that having a bad thought (e.g., about doing something) is morally equivalent to actually doing it.”

“Control of thoughts: A belief that it is both essential and possible to have total control over one’s own thoughts.”

“Overestimation of threat: a belief that negative events are very probable and that they will be particularly bad.”

“Perfectionism: a belief that one cannot make mistakes and that imperfection is unacceptable.”

“Intolerance for uncertainty: a belief that it is essential and possible to know, without a doubt, that negative events won’t happen.”

Deep Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation

There are a few different approved medications, as well as recognized psychotherapies, to help you manage your OCD. Additionally, deep transcranial magnetic stimulation (dTMS or deep TMS) is a new technology that uses electromagnetic pulses delivered via a helmet filled with coils, to stimulate areas of the brain that are involved in producing signs of OCD. Thus far, researchers have determined that this procedure is safe and well tolerated by the majority of people. In a study, those who received deep TMS treatment for OCD showed a symptom reduction of 28%, versus 5% for those who had a placebo treatment, says Medscape. If you are seeking Los Angeles OCD treatment and are interested in learning more about dTMS, speak to your doctor about practitioners in your area.

Obsessive-compulsive disorder is a disruptive condition that makes living a normal life difficult. OCD causes are not fully understood, though researchers believe it to be due to a combination of biological, genetic, and behavioral factors.

Westside Neurotherapeutics offers Deep TMS treatments for OCD in Los Angeles. For more information, contact them by phone at 310.946.0008 or email at info@westsideneurotherapeutics.com.

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