OCD: obsessive–compulsive … disgust? The role of disgust in obsessive–compulsive disorder

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Abstract

Recent research has identified the important role of disgust in the symptomatology of obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD). Exaggerated and inappropriate disgust reactions may drive some of the symptoms of OCD, and in some cases, may even eclipse feelings of anxiety. This paper reviews behavioural and neuroimaging research that recognizes the prominent role of disgust in contributing to OCD symptoms, especially contamination-based symptoms. We discuss how elevated behavioural and biological markers of disgust reported in OCD populations support the need for alternative clinical treatment strategies and theoretical models of OCD.

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