Is OCD Hereditary?


So many physical diseases are hereditary, but what about obsessive-compulsive disorder, which is a psychiatric disorder? Well, it appears it is.

A 2000 study out of Johns Hopkins University found that a person with a parent, brother or sister who suffers from OCD are five times more likely to develop the illness than someone who does not have a member of their immediate family with it.

There were questions over whether a person is born with the behavior, or if they learn it from their OCD family member.

“There is surely some environmental aspect to OCD,” said lead researcher, psychiatrist Gerald Nestadt, M.D. “If your mother is constantly washing her hands and worrying over it, that could have an effect. But what’s obvious to investigators is that, in patients with affected family members, their behavior isn’t necessarily the same as the family member’s. A patient whose mother washed her hands might, for example, have to check light switches over and over. They both have an obsession, but their behavior is different. And that points to a biological basis.”

To further prove the point, studies on twins have shown that identical twins have a higher incidence of OCD — almost 90% — than fraternal twins, where the odds of both being OCD is only around 50%.

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Do you or a loved one feel like you might have a problem with OCD? Take the Self Test now to get more information.

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