Dr. Simpson shares if obsessive compulsive disorder/OCD is genetic.
There is a family history to OCD. The family studies suggest that if someone has OCD, there’s a higher likelihood that there’s OCD in their family members, and so the typical prevalence rate of OCD is about two-percent, two out of a hundred people in America will have it. But in those family studies, what you find is that, again, if you start with someone with OCD, their family members, it will be the prevalence rate will be 10%, so 10 in a 100. So that’s some suggestion that there’s something going on in the families of OCD.
However, it gets a little more complicated. It seems like that’s only true of some cases of OCD, and so there’s some families where there seems to be a familial aspect to the OCD, and there are other cases of OCD where there’s no family history at all, and as best as can be determined from the data, it seems that early onset OCD, meaning people who have the onset of OCD at a young age, are more likely to have family members with OCD than people who get OCD, let’s say, in their late teens or 20s.
About Dr. Simpson, M.D., Ph.D.:
Helen Blair Simpson, M.D., Ph.D., an expert on obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), is an associate professor of clinical psychiatry at Columbia University, New York City, where she directs the Anxiety Disorders Clinic and OCD Research Program at the New York State Psychiatric Institute. She was a member of the work group that developed the first “Practice Guidelines for the Treatment of Patients With OCD” for the American Psychiatric Association.
Through her research, Dr. Simpson is working to trace the brain circuits believed to play a major role in the development of obsessions and compulsions, and she has developed novel approaches to treatment. Her research has been supported by a NARSAD Young Investigator grant.