A person with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) suffers from a combination of obsessive thoughts and compulsive behavioral patterns and although there are lots of theories as to what the underlying causes of obsessive compulsive disorder might be, scientists believe that OCD is probably the result of a combination of different factors.
What are the Causes of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder?
Genetics are thought to play a role in cases of obsessive compulsive disorder since many OCD patients have a relative with OCD or other disorder within the same spectrum of illnesses.
Having a parent with OCD means you are more likely to develop the disorder, but in cases of identical twins, it does not necessarily follow that both twins will develop the disorder, so there is obviously more than a genetic link to blame.
What are the Biological Causes of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder?
The brain is an incredibly complex organ and there is continuous communication between the different parts of it.
In people with OCD, it is thought that some of the communication processes are flawed in some way and the person is unable to ignore behavioral impulses, which leads to the endless compulsions and obsessions of OCD.
In support of this theory, brain scans carried out on patients with obsessive compulsive disorder have shown abnormal activity in the orbital frontal cortex and basal ganglia where impulses such as aggression and sexuality are centered.
Some scientists believe that obsessive compulsive disorder is caused by a kind of chemical dysfunction in the brain.
Serotonin plays a big part in the control of various processes, including mood, and research has suggested that serotonin may be involved in the development of obsessive compulsive disorder since patients with OCD usually respond to medications that boost serotonin levels.
Other Causes of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
There is a link between the streptococcal infection and cases of obsessive compulsive disorder and for those with a genetic predisposition towards OCD, a streptococcal infection can trigger a sudden onset of the disorder.
This type of obsessive compulsive disorder is referred to as PANDAS and usually begins within one or two weeks of contracting a strep infection.
Patients suffering from depression can sometimes develop the symptoms of OCD and vice versa. Unfortunately this makes treating the condition a lot more difficult.
What are the Causes of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder in Children?
The causes of OCD in children are the same as those in adults, namely biological and psychological.
Children who develop the symptoms of obsessive compulsive disorder often have abnormalities in their brains, but there is also a genetic component at work because children born into families where cases of OCD already exist are much more likely to develop OCD themselves.
Some children are also more anxious and neurotic than others and can often pick up on anxiety and guilt from their parents or other significant people in their lives—both guilt and anxiety are linked to the symptoms experienced by sufferers of OCD.
Such children appear to have a definite predisposition towards OCD and often develop symptoms of the disorder from an early age.