Essay on Describe and Evaluate Biological Explanations of OCD

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Describe and evaluate biological explanations of OCD (10 marks)

The biological approach as an explanation of OCD believes that the disorder is caused by a fault in our body, either through genes, hormones, the brain, or neurotransmitters, therefore suggesting that OCD is caused by our nature, rather than our upbringing. This means that since we are born with the body we have, if we have OCD, it is innate within us.

One biological explanation for OCD is the genetic explanation. The genetic explanation believes that all of our behaviour is inherited through our genes. This therefore means that we have a predisposition for OCD, which is inherited like any other genetic behaviour. If this were true, OCD is more likely to be prevalent
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However, having said this, although OCD is treatable, it is not curable, meaning that if a patient were to stop taking SSRI anti-depressants that increase Serotonin levels, the patient would revert back to normal and their obsessions and compulsions would continue.

Neurophysiological explanations can also be applied to OCD. Dysfunctional areas of the brain may cause OCD. This includes the orbito-frontal cortex and the basal ganglia. The basal ganglia is responsible for passing on information in order to enable the planning and execution of movement. Individuals with OCD show increased activity in the orbito-frontal cortex. Obsessive and compulsive symptoms can also be caused by lack of tissue in the caudate nuclei. The caudate nuclei is an area in the basal ganglia that filters messages coming from the orbito-frontal cortex before passing to other parts of the brain. Rapoport and Wise proposed that hypersensitivity of the basal ganglia increases repetitive motor behaviours, such as those found in OCD patients. They investigated this by using brain scans, such as MRI scans, in which they compared OCD brains with normal brains and looked at the differences. This is a good way to study OCD as it is scientific and objective, meaning that it holds prestige. However, cause and effect cannot be established: we do not know if OCD causes brain dysfunction or whether brain dysfunction causes OCD. This means we cannot accurately study

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