Do you wash your hands repetitively in fear of germs or count specific numbers impulsively and repeatedly?

Are you obsessed with certain behaviors such as arranging things perfectly or locking the door multiple times to ensure that it’s closed?

These are the common symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder(OCD).

But, what is OCD?

Let’s find out.

An introduction to OCD

OCD is an anxiety disorder which triggers repetitive obsession and compulsion.
Obsession and compulsion

In order to survive, and for our well being – we have to pay more attention in certain situations – such as while making sure that your gas stove is turned off after its use or you have locked your door before going out.

But what if you recheck things again and again to the point that it affects your life or that of others negatively?

Then you probably have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).

OCD is made of three words – Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Obsessive comes from the word obsession, which refers to persistent thoughts, urges, images, and doubts. These types of views lead to anxiety. Often obsessive thoughts involve violence, blasphemy,  fear of contamination, fear of harming others, and order of things.

What is an obsession?

However, you need to understand that obsessions are not a part of OCD patient’s personality. In fact, people with obsessions fear their thoughts and so are more unlikely to act on their feelings.

What is Compulsion?

Compulsions are repetitive activities that you indulge in response to distress caused by obsessive thoughts. Some common compulsions are washing hands or other body parts excessively, arranging objects in particular ways, checking doors and windows multiple times, or checking your own body often.

Purely obsessional

Sometimes patients show purely obsessional thoughts but no external signs of compulsion. In such cases the compulsions are mental. It might consist of repeating numbers or phrases in mind, checking, feeling or bodily sensations excessively.

Who has OCD? (Symptoms)

The National Institute of Mental Health (a federal US agency – NIMH in short), sets certain conditions to decide whether a person has OCD or not.  

In general, persons with OCD

  • Can’t control their thoughts or behaviors
  • Spend more than 1 hours on obsessive thoughts or compulsions
  • Do not get pleasure while performing the compulsions
  • Experience problems in their daily life – work life, social life, etc.

What Causes OCD?

Scientists are still to determine the exact causes of OCD. Nevertheless, there are certain risk factors such as

Causes of OCD.
How OCD causes?
  • Genetics – If first-degree relatives (parents, siblings, child) have OCD, the risks are higher.   
  • Brain Structure & Functioning – Imaging studies have shown some differences in the frontal cortex and subcortical structure of brains of OCD patients.
  • Environment – People with trauma or abuse are more likely to develop OCD.

Who is at risk?

Most OCD patients are diagnosed with 19 years old. Almost all cases are diagnosed by 35.


OCD treatment.
Is OCD treatable?

OCD can be treated with medication, psychotherapy or a combination of these. Most patients respond to treatment.

According to NIMH – Serotonin reuptake inhibitors(SRIs) and selective Serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) help reduce OCD symptoms. Medications include clomipramine, fluoxetine, fluvoxamine & sertraline.

Bottom line

  • OCD is an anxiety disorder which triggers repetitive thoughts(obsession) and behaviors(compulsion).
  • Some common obsessions are extreme needs of things in order and arrangement, fear of contamination, and counting numbers.
  • Compulsive behavior is a response to obsessive thoughts which decreases the anxiety level in OCD patients.
  • If the OCD symptoms become uncontrollable and distracting in your daily lives, then seek medical help.
  • Some major causes of OCD are genetics, brain structure, and environment.
  • Most people who are diagnosed with OCD are 19 years old. The risk is equal for both genders.
  • OCD is treatable and its patient can switch back to their normal lives.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder – Introduction, Causes & Symptoms

Now, you know enough about OCD. If you think you have OCD symptoms, visit your doctor. Life will be more comfortable that way.

If you think that someone you know has OCD, why not share this article with them. After all, sharing is caring.

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