Outline and evaluate one biological explanation for obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). (Total 16 marks)
OCD may have a biological basis rooted in genetics. Evidence suggests a hereditary component, indicating a predisposition to inherit the disorder. The identification of the Sapap3 gene has provided support for the genetic link to OCD. This gene is implicated in the regulation of certain neurotransmitters and synaptic transmission, suggesting a role in the development of obsessive-compulsive symptoms. Understanding these genetic factors helps shed light on the biological underpinnings of OCD, contributing to advancements in both research and potential targeted treatments.
A key strength of this explanation is that there are supporting studies. Supporting studies help validate explanations and builds trust in the theory. For example, studies, such as Arbor (2006), have reported that relatives of individuals with OCD are approximately nine times more likely to be diagnosed with the disorder, emphasising a clear familial pattern. Additionally, twin studies, like those conducted by Rasmussen (1986) and Carey and Gottesman, have indicated a concordance rate (CR) between 65% and 80% in monozygotic (MZ) twins, further substantiating the genetic influence. This understanding can empower affected individuals to navigate their condition with a sense of validation and facilitate more targeted support strategies tailored to the unique challenges associated with a genetic predisposition to OCD. Additionally, these insights can contribute to the development of personalised treatment plans, fostering a more compassionate and effective approach to managing OCD.
However, contrary to this, these types of studies can be criticised due to methodological issues. Methodological issues refer to challenges or problems related to the design, conduct, and execution of a research study or investigation. For example, the use of relative studies, present a weakness in our understanding of OCD. It is challenging to separate genetic and environmental influences in such studies, making it difficult to pinpoint the exclusive contribution of genetics to the development of OCD. The reliance on relatives also raises concerns about shared environmental factors that may confound the genetic link. To advance our understanding in this area, researchers need to be cautious about the limitations of relative studies and explore more sophisticated methodologies, such as molecular genetics, to untangle the complex interplay between genetics and environment in the manifestation of OCD.