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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    Is OCD genetic or hereditary?

    My father suffered from depression and OCD, I have OCD too, is this because my father had it?
  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • 2


    Offers information and education advice about protecting mental health, mutual support and advocacy services. View Profile

    There is a theory that OCD is related to genetics. Genetics studies surrounding OCD are currently focusing on genetic differences that might explain the different OCD symptoms that exist. This research may be helpful in developing treatments that can target specific symptoms with greater effectiveness than is currently possible.

  • 1


    Dr Paul McQueen

    Clinical Psychologist, Psychologist

    Although genetics may play a role in the development of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, the influence of genetics is at most partial. That is, even if you inherited all the genes that might increase the risk of developing OCD, it does not guarantee you will end up having OCD symptoms at any point in your life. There will be other environmental factors that interact with genetics to cause OCD to manifest.

    More importantly, regardless of whether genetics plays a role in the devolpment of OCD we know that there are effective treatments for OCD. Generally the recommended first line of treatment is a combination of either Behavioural Therapy (BT) or Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) with medication. Regardless of whether BT or CBT is used, therapy should always involve exposure to intrusive obsessions combined with inhibition of the associated compulsive rituals.

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