Human compulsivity

A perspective from evolutionary medicine

Dan J. Stein, Haggai Hermesh, David Eilam, Cosi Segalas, Joseph Zohar, Jose Menchon, Randolph Nesse

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Biological explanations address not only proximal mechanisms (for example, the underlying neurobiology of obsessive-compulsive disorder), but also distal mechanisms (that is, a consideration of how particular neurobiological mechanisms evolved). Evolutionary medicine has emphasized a series of explanations for vulnerability to disease, including constraints, mismatch, and tradeoffs. The current paper will consider compulsive symptoms in obsessive-compulsive and related disorders and behavioral addictions from this evolutionary perspective. It will argue that while obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is typically best conceptualized as a dysfunction, it is theoretically and clinically valuable to understand some symptoms of obsessive-compulsive and related disorders in terms of useful defenses. The symptoms of behavioral addictions can also be conceptualized in evolutionary terms (for example, mismatch), which in turn provides a sound foundation for approaching assessment and intervention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)869-876
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Neuropsychopharmacology
Volume26
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2016
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
Medicine
Behavioral Symptoms
Neurobiology

Keywords

  • Evolutionary medicine
  • Evolutionary psychiatry
  • Obsessive-compulsive and related disorders
  • Substance-related and addictive disorders

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Neurology
  • Pharmacology

Cite this

Stein, D. J., Hermesh, H., Eilam, D., Segalas, C., Zohar, J., Menchon, J., & Nesse, R. (2016). Human compulsivity: A perspective from evolutionary medicine. European Neuropsychopharmacology, 26(5), 869-876. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.euroneuro.2015.12.004

Human compulsivity : A perspective from evolutionary medicine. / Stein, Dan J.; Hermesh, Haggai; Eilam, David; Segalas, Cosi; Zohar, Joseph; Menchon, Jose; Nesse, Randolph.

In: European Neuropsychopharmacology, Vol. 26, No. 5, 01.05.2016, p. 869-876.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Stein, DJ, Hermesh, H, Eilam, D, Segalas, C, Zohar, J, Menchon, J & Nesse, R 2016, 'Human compulsivity: A perspective from evolutionary medicine', European Neuropsychopharmacology, vol. 26, no. 5, pp. 869-876. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.euroneuro.2015.12.004
Stein DJ, Hermesh H, Eilam D, Segalas C, Zohar J, Menchon J et al. Human compulsivity: A perspective from evolutionary medicine. European Neuropsychopharmacology. 2016 May 1;26(5):869-876. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.euroneuro.2015.12.004
Stein, Dan J. ; Hermesh, Haggai ; Eilam, David ; Segalas, Cosi ; Zohar, Joseph ; Menchon, Jose ; Nesse, Randolph. / Human compulsivity : A perspective from evolutionary medicine. In: European Neuropsychopharmacology. 2016 ; Vol. 26, No. 5. pp. 869-876.
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