Obsessive-compulsive disorder may reflect a propensity for bad habits

Posted on April 19, 2014

Two new studies published in Biological Psychiatry shed light on the propensity for habit formation in obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). These studies suggest that a tendency to develop habits, i.e., the compulsive component of the disorder, may be a core feature of the disorder rather than a consequence of irrational beliefs.

In other words, instead of washing one's hands because of the belief that they are contaminated, some people may develop concerns about hand contamination as a consequence of a recurring urge to wash their hands.

Both studies were conducted by researchers at the University of Cambridge who compared habits and goal-directed behaviors in a group of people diagnosed with OCD and a matched group of healthy people. They found that the group with OCD had a greater tendency to develop avoidance habits and also displayed impairments of their goal-directed decision making.

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Category(s):Obsessions & Compulsions (OCD)

Source material from Medical News Today


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