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date: 21 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a debilitating and prevalent neuropsychiatric disorder characterized by obsessions and/or compulsions. This chapter selectively reviews OCD from several perspectives. It begins by considering clinical features of the disorder and its relationship with putative OC spectrum conditions such as trichotillomania and Tourette’s syndrome. Existing first-line pharmacological and psychological interventions are outlined. The chapter then considers what is known of the neurobiology of OCD, focusing on relatively functionally segregated frontostriatal circuitry and underlying neurochemical mediators. It is proposed that OCD symptoms, and associated cognitive deficits, can be conceptualized in terms of aberrant function of orbitofrontocortical and dorsolateral prefrontocortical circuitry. This model is supported by translational studies relating to three specific cognitive functions: reversal learning, set-shifting, and response inhibition. Problems in these domains, along with associated neural abnormalities, have been found in patients with OCD and in their clinically unaffected first-degree relatives. Shortcomings in the literature are then discussed and future research directions provided, including the search for validated endophenotypes and novel treatment approaches for OCD and related disorders.

Keywords: obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), impulsivity, compulsivity, translational, inhibition, flexibility, serotonin, dopamine

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