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The difference between obsession and delusion
Date:9/4/2013

Because animals can't talk, researchers need to study their behavior patterns to make sense of their activities. Now researchers at Tel Aviv University are using these zoological methods to study people with serious mental disorders.

Prof. David Eilam of TAU's Zoology Department at The George S. Wise Faculty of Life Sciences recorded patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder and "schizo-OCD" which combines symptoms of schizophrenia and OCD as they performed basic tasks. By analyzing the patients' movements, they were able to identify similarities and differences between two frequently confused disorders.

Published in the journal CNS Spectrums, the research represents a step toward resolving a longstanding question about the nature of schizo-OCD: Is it a combination of OCD and schizophrenia, or a variation of just one of the disorders?

The researchers concluded that schizo-OCD is a combination of the two disorders. They noted that the behavioral differences identified in the study could be used to help diagnose patients with OCD and other obsessive-compulsive disorders, including schizo-OCD.

The taxonomy of mental disorders

"I realized my methodology for studying rat models could be directly applied to work with humans with mental disorders," Prof. Eilam said. "Behavior is the ultimate output of the nervous system, and my team and I are experts in the fine-grained analysis of behavior, be it of humans or of other animals."

The main features of OCD are, of course, obsessions and compulsions. Obsessions are recurring and persistent thoughts, impulses, or images that are experienced as intrusive and unwanted and cause marked distress or anxiety. In contrast, compulsions are repetitive motor behaviors, such as counting, that occur in response to obsessions and are performed according to strictly applied rules. Schizophrenia is marked by delusions, hallucinations, disorganized speech, abnormal m
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Contact: George Hunka
ghunka@aftau.org
212-742-9070
American Friends of Tel Aviv University
Source:Eurekalert

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