Skip to content

    Mental Health Center

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) - Cause

    Researchers have yet to pinpoint the exact cause of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), but brain abnormalities, genetic (family) influences, and environmental factors are being studied. Brain scans of people with OCD have shown that they have different patterns of brain activity than people without OCD and that abnormal functioning of circuitry within a certain part of the brain (striatum) may cause the disorder. Abnormalities in other parts of the brain and an imbalance of brain chemicals, especially serotonin, may also contribute to OCD.

    Some experts believe that a problem related to streptococcal infections, such as strep throat and scarlet fever, can suddenly bring on the disorder or make its symptoms worse in some children.

    Recommended Related to Mental Health

    Understanding Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder -- the Basics

    Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) at one time was classified as a type of anxiety disorder, but it is now thought to be its own unique condition. It goes beyond the ordinary "double-checking" and worrying that all of us do from time to time. Everybody sometimes wants to make sure the doors are locked or the oven is off. For people with OCD, these thoughts and behaviors are so magnified that they interfere with everyday routines, jobs, and relationships. For example, people with OCD have been known...

    Read the Understanding Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder -- the Basics article > >

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: November 14, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
    1
    Next Article:

    Today on WebMD

    contemplation
    Differences between feeling depressed or feeling blue.
    lunar eclipse
    Signs of mania and depression.
     
    man screaming
    Causes, symptoms, and therapies.
    woman looking into fridge
    When food controls you.
     
    Woman standing in grass field barefoot, wind blowi
    Article
    senior man eating a cake
    Article
     
    Phobias
    Slideshow
    woman reading medicine warnings
    Article
     
    depressed young woman
    Article
    man with arms on table
    Article
     
    veteran
    Article
    man cringing and covering ears
    Article
     

    WebMD Special Sections