The theoretical basis of obsessive–compulsive behaviour
Obsessive–compulsive disorder: an integrative genetic and neurobiological perspective
David L. Pauls, Amitai Abramovitch, Scott L. Rauch & Daniel A. Geller
Nature Reviews Neuroscience 15, 410–424 (2014) doi:10.1038/nrn3746

An individual with obsessive–compulsive disorder experiences exaggerated concerns about danger, hygiene or harm that result in persistent conscious attention to the perceived threat or threats; in other words, they result in obsessions.

In response to the distress and/or anxiety associated with these obsessions, the person acts (that is, performs a behaviour) to neutralize the distress and/or anxiety, which provides temporary relief from the anxiety associated with the obsession.

However, this relief leads to reinforcement of the behaviours, leading to repetitive, compulsive behaviour when obsessions recur.

CSTC Circuit OCD.jpg