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Discuss the role of cognitive biases in OCD.

Cognitive biases play a significant role in the development and maintenance of OCD.

Individuals with OCD often experience cognitive biases, which are distortions in thinking that can lead to irrational beliefs and behaviours. One such bias is overestimation of threat, where individuals with OCD perceive danger or risk in situations that are not actually threatening. For example, someone with contamination OCD may believe that touching a doorknob will lead to illness or death.

Another cognitive bias common in OCD is perfectionism. This bias involves setting unrealistically high standards for oneself and others, leading to feelings of failure and anxiety when these standards are not met. This can manifest in OCD through excessive checking or repetitive behaviours in an attempt to achieve perfection.

Confirmation bias is also prevalent in OCD, where individuals seek out information that confirms their beliefs and ignore evidence that contradicts them. This can lead to a vicious cycle of obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviours, as individuals become more convinced of the need to perform their rituals.

Overall, cognitive biases can exacerbate symptoms of OCD and make it difficult for individuals to break free from their compulsive behaviours. Treatment for OCD often involves addressing these biases through cognitive-behavioural therapy, which helps individuals to challenge their irrational beliefs and develop more realistic thinking patterns.

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