What is Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder or OCD? Causes- Symptoms- Treatment

What is Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

What is obsessive-compulsive disorder?

Obsessive-compulsive disorder or OCD is a mental condition that is characterized by periodic invasive thoughts and forces a person to do a particular task over and over again. All these things can lead a person towards irrepressible thoughts, behaviors, or compulsions.

These compulsions can affect a person’s ability to perform specific tasks at home or office. Sometimes these invasive thoughts are the fears about the things that might occur or already happened.

Obsessive-compulsive disorder symptoms

OCD includes only obsession and compulsion symptoms or sometimes both. These obsession and compulsion symptoms can be extreme and may disturb your daily routine at home or work.

Obsession symptoms

Obsession symptoms are persistent and can lead to invasive thoughts and ultimately anxiety. It is quite hard to ignore these thoughts, and you might end up doing a compulsive ritual. Obsessive thoughts include:

  • Unwanted thoughts
  • Fear of being dirty by touching the things
  • Doubting that your partner is unfaithful
  • Worries that you have turned off the stove or lock the door
  • Organize the things again and again and feel stressed when things are not in a symmetrical order
  • Aggressive thoughts
  • Avoid shaking hand

Compulsion symptoms

OCD compulsions are repetitive behaviors that occur as a result of an obsession to reduce your anxiety or bring mental calmness. OCD compulsion symptoms include:

  • Fear of touching things and using the toilet at public places
  • Wanting to count the objects again and again
  • Frequent hand washing until your skin and nails become raw
  • Checking the stoves, doors, knobs, and locks repetitively
  • Repeating things, words, or phrases without making a noise
  • Orderliness
  • Adhere to a strict routine

What causes obsessive-compulsive disorder?

There is no clear evidence of the exact causes of OCD: however, main theories include:

Human biology: OCD can be a result of any chemical changes in your body or improper brain functioning.

Hereditary factors: One of the causes of OCD may be genetic, but the genes involved in causing OCD still need to be identified.

Learned behaviors: Compulsive behaviors can be learned over time, and a person becomes habitual when linked with anxiety alleviation.

Environmental factors: Few studies have suggested the relationship between OCD and early childhood shock. A lot of research is needed to support and understand this relationship.

Risk factors of OCD

Many risk factors can trigger the chances of developing OCD. Such as family history, stressful life events, continuous anxiety, depression, and other mental disorders may increase the chances of developing OCD.

Treatment of the obsessive-compulsive disorder

OCD treatment may not cure you properly, but it can bring many positive changes to normalize your routine life. The duration of treatment and type depends upon the severity of the disorder.

Some people only require a short-term treatment, while some need a long and more intensive type of treatment for OCD. Usually, psychotherapy and medications are used to treat the disorder.


CBT or cognitive behavioral therapy is the most common type of therapy to treat OCD. This therapy works by exposing the patients to a series of dreaded or obsessive objects like dirt and makes you able to learn the ways to control your compulsive behavior.

It takes a lot of effort, but most people feel much better once they acquire to cope with their obsessions and compulsions.

Psychotherapy is beneficial equally for children and adults. It can be as effective as medication. Treatment may vary from person to person and can be personalized according to the condition of the patients. 

OCD Medications

Different types of medications are used to treat OCD but most common antidepressants are used. The most common antidepressants SSRIs or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors are used to treat OCD. This medication requires high daily doses, and it usually requires few weeks to see the improvements.

Some patients respond well to this medication, while others may not. Although these medications help in managing the symptoms of OCD but in case of ineffectiveness, you must consult your doctor.

Fluoxetine, fluvoxamine, and paroxetine are a few FDA-approved antidepressants.

It is ideal to consult your doctor before starting any kind of medication. Your doctor will effectively recommend you the medication after observing the symptoms.

Usually, it takes few months to see the positive results and improvements in OCD patients. 

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