Inside the minds of people with obsessive-compulsive disorders

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About 10 years ago David Adam scratched his finger on a barbed wire fence…As a science journalist and author of The Man Who Couldn’t Stop: OCD and the True Story of a Life Lost in Thought, a book about his own struggles with obsessive-compulsive disorder, Adam had a good idea of what was in store. His OCD involved an obsessive fear of contracting HIV and produced a set of compulsive behaviors revolving around blood.

Far from merely excessive tidiness, the mental disorder can have a devastating impact on a person’s life.

A new study published September 28 in Neuron uses mathematical modeling of decision-making during a simple game to provide insight into what might be going on…Normally, a person’s confidence about their knowledge of the surrounding environment guides their actions. “If I think it’s going to rain, I’m going to take an umbrella,” says lead author Matilde Vaghi. The study shows this link between belief and action is broken to some extent in people with OCD. As a consequence, what they do conflicts with what they know.

The research of Vaghi and colleagues demonstrates the type of research being performed by the relatively new field of computational psychiatry. The work could ultimately lead to tools for early detection of people at risk.

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Read full, original post: An Inner Look into the Minds and Brains of People with OCD