The chicken or the egg: What drives OCD?

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Publisher: Elsevier B.V.
Document Type: Author abstract; Report
Length: 282 words

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Abstract :

To link to full-text access for this article, visit this link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jocrd.2016.07.005 Byline: Eyal Kalanthroff, Amitai Abramovitch, Shari A. Steinman, Jonathan S. Abramowitz, Helen B. Simpson Abstract: The prevailing conceptual model for Obsessive-Compulsive disorder (OCD) posits that obsessions drive compulsive rituals that serve to control or reduce obsessional distress. In recent years, an alternative hypothesis to explain the symptoms of OCD was suggested -- the 'habit-driven' hypothesis. According to this hypothesis, compulsions are the result of aberrant dysregulation of stimulus-response habit learning and obsessions are post hoc rationalizations of otherwise unexplained compulsive behaviors. In this article, we describe this hypothesis and briefly review data presented to support it. Next, we raise four questions about this hypothesis to explore how it fits the complex phenotype of OCD: (i) What are the deficits in the goal-directed system in OCD? (ii) How should we define and measure habits in humans? (iii) Are compulsions habits in the technical sense? and (iv) Are obsessions caused by compulsions? We conclude that how an imbalance in goal-directed versus habit behaviors might contribute to the complex phenotype of OCD is yet to be revealed. Author Affiliation: (a) Anxiety Disorders Clinic and the Center for OCD and Related Disorders at the New York State Psychiatric Institute, New York, NY, USA (b) Department of Psychiatry, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, NY, USA (c) Department of Psychology, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel (d) Department of Psychology, Texas State University, San Marcos, TX, USA (e) Department of Psychology, West Virginia University, WV, USA (f) Department of Psychology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC, USA Article History: Received 5 May 2016; Revised 20 July 2016; Accepted 26 July 2016

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A484252726