How does serotonin relate to OCD?


Serotonin plays a significant role in the treatment but not directly in the cause of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). explains that while serotonin systems aren't directly implicated in causing OCD, serotonin-related drugs, such as Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs), are among the most effective treatments for reducing OCD symptoms. These drugs work by increasing the availability of serotonin in the synapses of the brain, which helps in relieving symptoms 1.

Furthermore, serotonin impacts cognitive flexibility and inflexibility, which are important aspects of OCD. Low serotonin levels are associated with cognitive inflexibility 1. Interestingly, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and SSRIs show significant symptom reduction, indicating their role in modifying the brain's neural circuits over time to treat OCD.

Additionally, mentions research exploring whether psychedelics like psilocybin, which target serotonin receptors, could be effective for OCD. However, the results are currently inconclusive 2.

Overall, while serotonin itself may not be the root cause of OCD, it plays a crucial role in the treatment and management of the disorder, primarily through its involvement in neuroplasticity and cognitive processes 3.

OCD Treatments

Andrew discusses the relationship between serotonin and OCD, as well as the effectiveness of both drug treatments and cognitive behavioral therapy in reducing symptoms. While the exact mechanisms of these treatments are not fully understood, they both show significant reductions in symptoms after 10-12 weeks of consistent use.

Huberman Lab

The Science & Treatment of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) | Huberman Lab Podcast #78