Monday, August 1, 2011

What Underlies OCD's Rituals and Behaviors?

Gina Sanders/Shutterstock
Why is it that people with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) feel impelled to engage in repetitive, ritualistic  behaviors? A new study, published in the July American Journal of Psychiatry, may offer one explanation.

The study found that individuals with OCD are impaired in their ability to control goal-directed behaviors. Goal-directed behaviors in turn are known to depend on nerve circuits in parts of the brain known as the orbitofrontal cortex and striatum. These nerve circuits have also been implicated in obsessive-compulsive disorder by other scientists.

To read much more about this study of OCD see  

And more information about obsessive-compulsive disorder in general is covered in the APA publication Let's Talk Facts About Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, which can be ordered at


The content of Psychiatric News does not necessarily reflect the views of APA or the editors. Unless so stated, neither Psychiatric News nor APA guarantees, warrants, or endorses information or advertising in this newspaper. Clinical opinions are not peer reviewed and thus should be independently verified.