Is OCD Passed on Through the Family?

OCD: Is It Passed On Through the Family?

You are probably wondering what contributes to OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), a condition that affects millions of men and women throughout the world. About 2 percent of adults have this condition. Is it hereditary? Here are some answers to your questions about genetics and OCD and more. We treat OCD very often and want you to know more about how OCD treatment is available.

Untreated OCD can lead to physical illness as well as anxiety and serious bouts of depression. Fortunately, Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) has been used to treat OCD. Here, you’ll learn more about OCD symptoms and treatment.

What is OCD?

Mental health professionals recognize that when OCD occurs, the patient becomes preoccupied with a series of obsessions and compulsions. Ritualistic patterns of action and thinking begin to have a serious impact on that person’s life. These rituals take up a large amount of the person’s time, and if they are not able to perform them, they will experience anxiety and disturbances that emotionally take a toll on their life. Some individuals then dive into deep emotional clinical depression; it happens across all professions and economic classes. As one of the top 20 causes of illness when untreated, OCD treatment is necessary.

Obsessions are images and impulses that are persistent as well as uncontrollable. They may be unwanted, intrusive, and disturbing. To counteract this and alleviate the disrupting thoughts, the person may then engages in compulsive acts or behavior. Sometimes behaviors are repetitive in nature and are believed, by the person, to help control the obsessive thoughts. It gets worse, as the compulsions only reinforce the obsessions, which then leads to an endless cycle and disruption of life.

Some OCD symptoms may be the following:

  • Fear of germs
  • Unwanted and taboo thoughts, such as thoughts about harm, sex, religion
  • Aggression towards self or others
  • Religious obsessions; having things symmetrical
  • Having things in perfect order

A fear of losing control, unwanted sexual thoughts, fear of contamination, obsession with morality, and aggressive thoughts may be part of the person’s experience. OCD is diagnosed with the following factors:

  • Time consuming (more than one or two hours a day}
  • Causes major distress
  • Impairs social or work abilities

The Genetic Risk Factors of OCD

Although environmental factors have been shown to be involved, the genetic factor is important. OCD affects children as well as adults.

Studies involving genes have shown that there is compelling evidence that biology plays a roll in OCD. OCD is present in some diseases, including Huntington’s chorea, encephalitis lethargica (von Economo’s encephalitis), Parkinson’s disease, Tourette disorder, schizophrenia and more, and specific regions of the brain may be involved.

Serotonin reuptake inhibitors have demonstrated value in controlling obsessions and compulsions. According to NIH, there is compelling evidence that OCD has a genetic basis. However, the complexities of genetics and OCD is not fully understood at present. Some researchers think that factors such as complications during pregnancy or childbirth and stressful life events can be the source of OCD.

Can OCD be Passed on Through Family?

The factors of genetics and OCD are not fully clear. Researchers have stated that the risk is greater for first-degree relatives, such as brother, sister, or children. Most people that have a close relative with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder will not be affected, however, and will not develop this condition, according to NIH.

How to Help a Loved one with OCD

People who have OCD have reported that their symptoms get worse with criticism or blame; these actions by family members generate more emotions that are filled with anxiety. Remember that the symptoms are not traits of their personality, according to the International OCD Foundation.

Change of any kind is stressful for the person with OCD, even if it is a positive change. You can help a loved one by lowering your own expectations, since family conflict only fuels anxiety.

Recognize small improvements, as the person with OCD makes tremendous effort to make a small change. Slips should be recognized as “tomorrow is another day” instead of labeling things as failing or out of control.

Avoiding personal criticism is a valid step that families can take. You don’t have to ignore the compulsive behavior but can accept and support the person. Try to explain to that family member that their actions are symptoms of OCD and that you will support them in resisting the compulsions. If medication has been prescribed, you may want to talk to the doctor to be aware of any side effects from medications.

How TMS Works for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

In addition to medications and therapy, transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) has proved helpful to those with OCD. A powerful magnet targets certain areas of the brain and is considered deep brain stimulation, a type of therapy.

This treatment helps the flow of information as it travels between neurotransmitters and neural pathways. For the person suffering from OCD, it alleviates obsessions, compulsions, and anxiety. Freed from distressing and intrusive thoughts, the person is able to live a healthier and more functional life.

How long does TMS treatment take? The treatment time takes about an hour. The person can return to work or their normal routine soon after. The term of treatment can last anywhere from three to six weeks, depending on the severity. Studies have shown that many patients see improvement after approximately four weeks of treatment with TMS. For most of the people, improvements last up to four months. During this time, depression and anxiety are also decreased.

If you or a loved one are suffering from OCD and would like to learn more about solutions, call or email to explore TMS and OCD treatment options at Pulse. Contact us to schedule a free consultation at one of our California locations and get back to life. We can help you or a loved one become their best version through recovery from OCD.