Causes of OCDBitter feudThe community of scientists studying obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) has been split into two factions by a bitter feud over the exact cause of the illness. None of the opinions featured are written by me, and I may or may not agree with the submissions posted. On one side is a group who believe that obsessive-compulsive behaviour is a psychological disorder.The causes of obsessions and compulsions could lie deep in the brainThis group believes that OCD is caused when people believe that they are personally responsible for the obsessional thoughts they experience. In addition she is Director of the Oxford Centre for the Science of the Mind, exploring the physical basis of consciousness. This exaggerated sense of responsibility makes sufferers more anxious, keeping the distressing thought in their mind. They try to avoid this feeling of responsibility by performing compulsions.On the other side are scientists who believe that obsessive-compulsive behaviour is caused by abnormalities in the brain.
A majority of researchers now believe in this biological hypothesis of OCD.Broken linksThe cycle of thoughts and actions in OCD might reflect a fault in an essential pathway in the brain.

The pathway involved in obsessive-compulsive behaviour is a loop involving three anatomical brain regions.
These are the:Orbital-frontal cortex Caudate nucleus (head) ThalamusCoronal section through a human brain showing the thalamus and caudate nucleus. For example, when the OFC registers that there is dirt nearby, it sends a 'worry' signal to the thalamus. The thalamus directs signals from many parts of the brain to places that can interpret them - in this case back to the OFC.
In 2012, Susan was offered the Honorary Fellowship of the Institute of Risk Management and also became a Vice Patron of POWER International. The caudate nucleus lies between the OFC and the thalamus and regulates signals sent between them.No controlWhen the thalamus receives a 'worry' signal, it becomes excited and sends strong signals back through the loop to the OFC, which interprets them.
Later in 2012, she was selected to serve as the Parliamentary Patron of the Westminster Higher Education Forum, alongside of continuing to be a Parliamentary Patron of the Westminster Education Forum.

Normally, the head of the caudate nucleus acts like the brake pedal on a car, suppressing the original 'worry' signals sent by the OFC to the thalamus. Susan is also Governor of The Florey Institute for Neuroscience and Mental Health and supports the IAB (the International Advisory Board).
This could explain the repetitive and seemingly senseless rituals performed by obsessive-compulsives.Biochemical testing equipment in a laboratoryChemical imbalanceAn imbalance in the neurotransmitter, or brain chemical, serotonin could also be to blame.
Serotonin and other neurotransmitters travel from nerve cell to nerve cell across fluid-filled gaps called synapses.
This leads to a deficiency of the neurotransmitter in key areas of the brain.Drugs known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) stop nerve cells that have just released serotonin from absorbing it back into the cell.

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