What Is Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)?, Symptoms What Causes It?


What exactly is obsessive-compulsive disorder ?

OCD is a mental health illness that manifests as an obsession or compulsion, as well as unpleasant behaviors and ideas that repeat over and again.

Routine chores might be difficult for someone who suffers from OCD to do successfully.

A person suffering from OCD will typically:

somebody who is experiencing intrusive thoughts, pictures, or desires that they are unable to control person who does not want to be experiencing these invasive thoughts and emotions A large level of discomfort is felt by the individual, which may include feelings of dread, disgust, uncertainty, or a belief that things must be done in a specific manner.

spends a significant amount of time focused on these obsessions and indulging in compulsions, which causes significant disruption in personal, social, and professional activities

People who suffer from obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) experience significant distress as a result of frequent unwanted thoughts (obsessions) or routines (compulsions) that they believe they are unable to stop.

Handwashing, counting, checking, and cleaning are some of the rituals that people conduct in the hopes of avoiding or eliminating obsessive thinking.

OCD is a chronic, recurrent disorder that affects many people.

Anxiety disorders, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), are chronic illnesses that may cause significant suffering and incapacity.

Cognitive behavior therapy, especially exposure and response prevention, and/or a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor are recommended as first-line treatments for major depressive disorder (SSRI).

When an SSRI is helpful, long-term therapy with the medication is a realistic alternative for preventing recurrence of the condition. 

Chronic disturbing thoughts and repeated activities or mental routines done to alleviate anxiety are the hallmarks of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), a neuropsychiatric illness that affects about one in every 100 people.

Feelings of embarrassment and concealment are often associated with the symptoms. 

Furthermore, health-care practitioners are not always aware of the many different forms of OCD that might express themselves.

Obsessions are recurring ideas, images, or urges that occur over and over again.

Contamination worries, the dread of harming oneself or others, the fear of losing control of violent tendencies, intrusive sexual thoughts or urges, overwhelming religious or moral uncertainty, and the need to tell, inquire, or confess are all examples of common obsessions.

 Washing, repeating, checking, touching, counting, ordering/arranging, hoarding or preserving, and praying are all examples of compulsions that people experience.

OCD symptoms create anguish, consume a large amount of time (more than an hour per day), and severely interfere with a person’s ability to work, have a social life, or maintain relationships.

Children with obsessive-compulsive disorder

In most cases, the initial indications of OCD manifest themselves around adolescence, although they may also present as early as infancy in certain cases.
Among young individuals, including children, who suffer from OCD are the following complications.

  • a poor sense of self-worth
  • routines that have been disturbed
  • Having problems finishing homework
  • physical sickness as a result of stress, such as difficulty creating or sustaining friendships and other interpersonal relationships


Experts are unsure of the specific etiology of OCD, but they believe that a family history of the disorder may play a significant role.

If you have a close family member who suffers from OCD, you have a greater probability of developing the disorder yourself.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, the illness has also been associated with abnormal development and dysfunction in particular parts of the brain.

Some research shows that OCD may be related to the way your brain reacts to serotonin in some way.

When it comes to your mood and sleep, serotonin is a vital neurotransmitter to have in your system. It also has many other key roles throughout your body.

OCD is associated with a number of risk factors.

Despite the fact that you may be genetically predisposed to acquiring OCD, other variables might enhance your chances of developing the disorder.

These are some examples:

Stress or trauma are two different things. 

Significant stress at home, school, job, or in personal relationships might increase your risk of getting OCD or worsening current symptoms, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.


Certain personality characteristics, such as difficulties dealing with ambiguity, elevated emotions of responsibility, or perfectionism, may play a role in the development of OCD.

However, there is significant disagreement as to whether they are really permanent qualities or whether they are more flexible learning responses that may alter over time.

Childhood abuse is a serious problem.

 A greater risk of acquiring the illness exists among children who have experienced abuse or other traumatic childhood events, such as bullying or severe neglect.

Acute neuropsychiatric symptoms in children and adolescents (CANS).

Some children develop OCD as a result of an infection that strikes them out of nowhere.

Following a streptococcal infection, this illness is referred to as PANDAS, which is an acronym that stands for pediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorders associated with streptococcal infection.

However, symptoms may also be caused by other illnesses or disorders.

Injury to the brain caused by a traumatic event

According to a research published in 2021, signs of OCD may manifest themselves for the first time after a head injury.

The causes of obsessive-compulsive disorder are not completely known. 

There are various hypotheses concerning the origins of OCD, including the following:

The repetition and habituation of compulsions are learnt activities that become repeated and habitual when they are connected with the alleviation of anxiety symptoms.

OCD is caused by a combination of genetic and familial factors.

The underlying reason is a combination of chemical, anatomical, and functional problems in the brain.

Disrupted beliefs serve to strengthen and perpetuate the symptoms of OCD and other anxiety disorders.

It is likely that a number of variables combine to cause the onset of OCD in a person.

Moreover, traumatic life experiences, hormone changes, and personality qualities may all have an impact on the underlying causes of the condition.

According to research, OCD is associated with difficulties in communication between different areas of the brain.

Obsessions are one of the symptoms of OCD.


While everyone worries, those who suffer from OCD might become overwhelmed by their fears and worry, making it difficult to carry out daily activities.

The following are some of the most common sources of this worry:

Body fluids, bacteria, dirt, and other contaminants may cause contamination.

Being unable to control one’s actions, such as the dread of acting on a strong want to harm oneself or others

Excessive striving for perfection might result in a fear of losing things or a strong desire to achieve perfection.

put the emphasis on accuracy or recalling facts

Anxiety of being accountable for a disastrous incident, among other things

unwanted sexual thoughts, including fantasies regarding improper sexual behavior.

Religious or superstitious beliefs, such as a fear of offending God or treading on cracks in the pavement, might cause people to behave inappropriately.

Obsessions may consume a person’s thoughts at all times. 

It is also uncommon for obsessive-compulsive concerns to extend beyond the particular trigger (for example, a bottle of coolant) to encompass anything that could resemble it or have been in close proximity to it, such as automobiles, car keys, a puddle on the road, supermarket shelves, and gas stations.

Obsessional anxiety is characterized by hypervigilance for potential dangers as well as a compulsive need for certainty and control.

In addition to irritation and pain, obsessions may cause extreme anguish, revulsion, and terror in those who are affected.

Compulsions are one of the symptoms of OCD.

Compulsions may be either behavioral (in the form of acts) or mental (in the form of ideas) (thoughts).

Repetitive acts that are often performed in a certain pattern or according to specified guidelines are classified as compulsive behaviors.

When compulsions are performed, they are frequently done in order to attempt to avoid an obsessive dread from occurring, to decrease the distress that the obsessive thinking causes, or to make things seem ‘just right.’

Obsessions are recurring, involuntary ideas, pictures, or impulses that occur in your mind on a regular basis but are not controlled by you.

You don’t want to have these thoughts, yet you have no control over them.

 Unfortunately, these obsessive thoughts are typically upsetting and distracting to those who are experiencing them.

Compulsions are habits or routines that you feel compelled to repeat again and over throughout your life. Compulsions are usually conducted in an effort to alleviate the symptoms of an obsession.

You could adopt complex cleaning regimens if you’re concerned about contamination, for example.

The relief, on the other hand, never lasts. In fact, the obsessive ideas almost always return stronger than before.

Furthermore, when the compulsive routines and behaviors grow increasingly demanding and time-consuming, they often become a source of worry in and of themselves. In other words, it’s a never-ending loop of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

Among the most common compulsions are:

  • Hand washing, bathing, and teeth brushing in excess are all bad habits.
  • excessive cleaning and washing of the home, household goods, food, vehicle, and other areas excessive checking of locks, electrical and gas appliances, and other things linked with safety excessive cleaning and washing of the house, household items, food, car, and other places
  • reading, writing, walking, picking something up or opening a door repeatedly applying rigid rules and patterns to the placement of objects, furniture, books, clothes, and other items touching.


When diagnosing OCD, doctors seek for particular criteria, such as the following:

  • Obsessions, compulsions, or combined obsessions and compulsions that are time-consuming or cause considerable suffering or impairment in social, occupational, or other vital circumstances are considered to be pathological.
  • Symptoms of OCD that are not caused by the use of a drug or the administration of a medicine
  • Symptoms of OCD that cannot be explained by another medical condition

Obsessions are intrusive thoughts or pictures that occur on a regular basis and cause significant suffering.

Because the ideas are unwelcome and inconsistent with the individual’s sense of self (ego dystonic), an enormous amount of effort is expended in resisting and suppressing them.

Over time, individuals grow more driven to carry out these tasks, and the behaviors become second nature to them.


When it comes to treating OCD, a sort of behavioral treatment known as “exposure and response prevention” (E/RP) is quite effective.

Treatment options for OCD include the following:

Anxiety management approaches, support groups, and education are all available, as are psychiatric therapies such as cognitive behavioral therapy.

When using a psychological treatment approach such as cognitive behavior therapy, you may reduce your symptoms and keep them down for the long haul.

Obsessions and compulsions may be reduced in intensity and frequency using evidence-based medical and behavioral therapy, and in rare cases, remission can be achieved in some people.

Self-help strategies for persons who suffer from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).

You may aid yourself in a variety of ways in addition to getting professional assistance.

Some ideas are as follows:
Refocus your attention on the task at hand (like doing some exercise or playing a computer game).

Being able to put off the temptation to engage in a compulsive habit is a significant step forward.

Make a list of any obsessive thoughts or anxieties you have. This might assist you in determining the frequency with which your obsessions recur.

Expect to feel compelled to provide a hand to alleviate their suffering.

Example: If you have a habit of double-checking that the doors are locked, attempt to lock the door with more care the first time.

The next time you have the impulse to double-check anything, it will be much simpler to dismiss it as ‘just an obsessive notion’.

Make a daily concern period a part of your schedule.

To obsess instead of attempting to repress it, set aside a period of time throughout the day when you may focus on your obsessions or compulsions. 

This will allow you to spend the rest of the day without being consumed by them.

In the course of the day, jot down any ideas or desires that come to mind and postpone them to your concern time — keep them for later and proceed with your day as usual.

Take excellent care of yourself. Even while stress does not cause OCD, it may precipitate the beginning of the disorder or worsen its symptoms if left untreated.

Try to spend at least 30 minutes a day practicing relaxation methods (such as mindfulness meditation or deep breathing) to relieve stress.

Tags: mental disorders, Psychiatric illness

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