When obsession is a disease

posted in: Times of India | 0

It’s amazing how emotions trapped in human mind toss and turn under the command of time. What is innocence in childhood turns ignorance in an adult. Rebel in a country is a patriot to the other. Taciturnity in a classroom is obedience in a church. Forever chased, emotions turn fugitive to the relentless hunt of a society restless by nature.

Barring one infamous exception.

Obsession. An ubiquitous human emotion perennially present from childhood to adulthood, from cradle to the coffin. From an obsessive husband to an obsessive mother to any obsessive ritual, this is one heck of an emotion that is obsessed by default. We physicians call it a disorder.

I am always leery of the expression ‘genetic influence’. For, one, it adds an air of profundity that a disorder should not enjoy and two, it transcends a life span and seriously challenges our management. But like so many others, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) does have a strong genetic component. And like many more, environmental factors (like a certain streptococcal infection) also adds to the influence. Despite all these proclivities, scientists have reclaimed grounds by capturing a circuit in the brain, a pathway through which these compulsion traverse: cortico-striato-thalamo-cortical (CSTC). This is important and a landmark breakthrough for now we have a way of tampering with this disorder’s relentless march.

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