Unshackling the Slaves of Obsession and CompulsionA Brain Science Success Story
For more than a century, scientists sought the explanation of a disorder affecting millions—obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)—in child-rearing practices or personality conﬂicts and prescribed psychiatric therapy, largely without success. Then, in the 1970s and 1980s, scientists began to view OCD as a biological problem. The resulting revolution in understanding and treating OCD drew not only from clinicians, but also from several lines of neuroscientiﬁc work and other disciplines, including genetics and immunology. Judith Rapoport, chief of the Child Psychiatry Branch at the National Institute of Mental Health, and her colleague, Gale Inoff-Germain, explore the OCD success story—and its current limitations—for its lessons for research on other neuropsychiatric diseases and for public policy.