What is the biological basis for obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
The biological basis for obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is in the central nervous system. The human thinking process takes us from the very front of the brain, known as the prefrontal cortex, to an area called the caudate nucleus, part of the basal ganglia, which plays a role in switching gears from one thought to another. Called the "worry circuit," this route is responsible for habit formation. In brain imaging studies of OCD patients, this pathway differs from "healthy" brains; it is unclear exactly what kind of neural coding is responsible for OCD symptoms or their resolution. Research has also shown that levels of serotonin, the neurotransmitter that can help keep obsessive thoughts at bay, is lower in OCD patients.
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