The Neuroscience of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

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5 Responses

  1. JM says:

    Excellent piece, Matt. Thank you for sharing your patient’s experiences to provide context for the complex neuroanatomical correlates that are involved in OCD. As someone with OCD, I have often felt like there were two different “brains” involved: the logical one and the obsessive one who cannot let go of its current fixation despite all evidence to the contrary. For me, obsessions — despite the range of topics — all share the common theme that there is no way to “prove” something one way or the other. After nearly being involved in an accident while driving my car this past spring I experienced the “I’m dead” obsession myself. Being aware of the cool air on my face, squeezing my fist to the point of pain, and a myriad of other things I did to prove to myself I wasn’t dead yielded no relief. It’s a tenacious disorder, which thanks in large part to your article, I have learned to view as an asset (especially in academic endeavors). This is easier to do in times where it doesn’t interfere with life as much as others, but as you closed with, accepting one’s reality instead of wishing what could be is therapeutic in its own right. Thanks again for such great posts. You will be an awesome addition to psychiatry.

    • JM,
      I am incredibly humbled by your comment, thank you. I completely agree that uncertainty is the obsessive-compulsive’s achilles heel. In fact, Graybiel et al. suggested that this is a core defining characteristic of OCD. And as you suggest, we inhabit a world almost entirely defined by uncertainty. In essence, OCD is like raking leaves in a hurricane. The entropic nature of our world soldiers on no matter our desire for predictability and certainty. Thank you again for such kind words and taking the time to write me. I wish you all the best.

  2. Jimmy says:

    Incredible article. Having scoured the internet for years on all topics about OCD, this goes straight up there into my top 3. Fasinating break down of the mental process’ involved. Brilliant comparison between a brain operating with and without the effect of this disorder.
    Living with OCD is a minefield. Keeps you on your toes though haha.
    Loved this article so much that it reassured me (compulsion), and as such, I saved it to my home screen to read when I’m doubting my own mind again. I know I’m using this article as a reassurance compulsion, however, from your point of view, you should take that as the ultimate compliment.

    • Matthew says:

      I am beyond humbled by your words and I am so glad that you found the article useful and insight-producing. Thank you for reading and commenting!

  1. February 12, 2015

    […] about it as the processes go around and around in a continuous circle. Thus we have on one hand, an out of control process involving fears and thoughts that become lodged in the mind and spill into the consciousness with a […]

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