Is OCD Inherited?
Evidence suggests that OCD (Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder) might run in families. Inheritance of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder refers to whether the condition is inherited from your parent's or "runs" in families. The level inheritance plays in the condition depends on how important genetics are in the disease.
At this time, researchers cannot predict who will develop OCD, but it has been shown to follow patterns in families. There are strong indications that the biological imbalance of the brain chemical serotonin can be passed on from generation to generation. So, the tendency to develop OCD may very well be inherited, while the actual disorder may not. When OCD runs in families, it is the general nature of OCD that is inherited, not the symptoms. Thus, a child may wash compulsively, while his mother or father has checking rituals.
Research suggests that OCD involves problems in communication between the front part of the brain (the orbital cortex) and deeper structures (the basal ganglia). These brain structures use the chemical messenger serotonin. It is believed that insufficient levels of serotonin are prominently involved in OCD. Medications that elevate the concentration of serotonin in the brain often improve OCD symptoms.
Pictures of the brain at work show that the brain circuits involved in OCD often return to normal after taking a serotonin medication or receiving cognitive-behavioral therapy or both.
Researchers must continue to study the genetic disposition of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder before they can definitively say that it is in fact inherited.
- Obsessive Compulsive Foundation |
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Web Sites
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) Web Sites
- OCD-UK: Leading UK charity for people affected by obsessive compulsive disorder (ocd)
We aim to bring the facts about obsessive compulsive disorder to the public and to support those who suffer from this often debilitating anxiety disorder.