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What is Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Obsessive-compulsive disorder features a way of unwanted thoughts (obsessions) that lead to performing repetitive behaviors (compulsions). These patterns interfere with everyday activities and result in significant distress. You may try to ignore your obsessions, but that only heightens your anxiety and distress. Eventually, you feel driven to conduct compulsive acts to alleviate stress. Despite actions to ignore or get rid of hazardous thoughts or urges, they keep coming around. This leads to ritualistic behavior, the vicious cycle of obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Obsessive-compulsive disorder frequently centers around an excessive fear of getting infected by germs. To relieve your contamination fears, you may wash your hands compulsively until they are chapped. A person with OCD may be ashamed of the condition, but medication and therapy can be effective.

Symptoms of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder:

Obsessive-compulsive disorder comprises both obsessions and compulsions. But it is also possible to have only obsessive or compulsive symptoms.

Obsession Symptoms

OCD obsessions are persistent and unwanted thoughts or urge that are intrusive and result in distress or anxiety. You might ignore them or get rid of them by conducting compulsive behavior. These obsessions generally intrude when you are trying to do other things.

Obsessions frequently have themes to them, such as:

  • Anxiety of contamination 
  • Disputing and having problems tolerating uncertainty
  • Wanting things in order
  • Aggressive or awful thoughts about losing control and damaging yourself 
  • Unwanted thoughts, comprising aggression, or sexual subjects

Instances of obsession symptoms include:

  • The anxiety of being polluted by touching items others have touched
  • Suspicions that you have locked the door 
  • Severe stress when objects are not standardized or facing a specific way
  • Impressions of driving your car into a mob of people
  • Feelings about shouting vulgarities or acting inappropriately
  • Terrible sexual images
  • Avoidance of circumstances that can accelerate obsessions, like shaking hands.

Compulsion Symptoms

OCD compulsions are redundant behaviors that you are driven to conduct. These repetitious behaviors or mental acts are implied to lessen anxiety related to your obsessions or deter something bad from occurring. Nonetheless, engaging in the compulsions carries no pleasure and may deliver only a temporary relaxation from fear.

You may make up rules to attend to that help regulate your anxiety when you have obsessive feelings. These compulsions are unreasonable and often are not realistically associated with the problem they are intended to fix.

Like obsessions, compulsive behavior generally have themes such as:

  • Orderliness
  • Washing and cleaning
  • Demanding reassurance
  • Checking
  • Following a strict routine
  • Counting

Instances of compulsion symptoms include:

  • Hand-washing till your skin becomes chapped
  • Checking the stove continually to make sure it is off
  • Counting in specific patterns
  • Organizing your bottled goods to face the exact way

Causes of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder:

The reason for obsessive-compulsive disorder is not fully understood. Main theories are:

  • Biology: Obsessive-compulsive disorder may result from modifications in your body’s brain functions or natural chemistry.
  • Genetics: OCD may have a genetic element, but particular genes have yet to be specified.
  • Learning: Obsessive suspicions and compulsive attitudes can be learned from staring at family members or slowly learned over time.

Risk Factors of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder:

What is obsessive-compulsive disorder? Factors that may boost the risk of developing obsessive-compulsive disorder are:

  • Family History: Family members with the disorder can increase your risk of developing the obsessive-compulsive disorder.
  • Stressful life circumstances. If you have experienced stressful events, your chance may increase. This response may trigger the intrusive thoughts and emotional distress factor of OCD.
  • Other mental health diseases. OCD may be related to other mental illnesses like depression, anxiety disorders, substance abuse illnesses.

Diagnosis of  Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder 

There is no test for OCD disorder. A professional makes the diagnosis after asking about your symptoms. The professional uses criteria clarified in the DSM-V (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders).

People frequently use “obsessing” and “OCD” in everyday conversations. But OCD, as per the DSM-V, is diagnosed based on certain factors:

  • The person has compulsions, obsessions, or both.
  • The compulsions or obsessions take up a lot of time 
  • The obsessions or compulsions result in distress or entail participation in work responsibilities, social activities, or other life incidents.
  • The symptoms are not caused by alcohol, drugs, medications, or another medical situation.
  • The symptoms are not illustrated by other mental disorders like eating disorders, generalized anxiety disorders, or body image disorders.

Treatment for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder 

If a person has symptoms of OCD that deter with their daily life, they should talk to a professional. A professional trained in mental disease can offer various strategies for the treatment for obsessive-compulsive disorder.

CBT (Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy)

CBT (Cognitive-behavioral therapy) is a kind of psychotherapy. You will speak to a therapist, enabling you to examine and comprehend your thoughts and feelings. Over various sessions, CBT can enable you to stop adverse habits, perhaps restoring them with healthier ways to cope.


Drugs called SRI (serotonin reuptake inhibitors), tricyclic antidepressants, and selective SRIs (SSRIs) may help. These medications for OCD boost levels of serotonin. They are fluoxetine, clomipramine, paroxetine, fluvoxamine, and sertraline.

Exposure And Response Prevention 

With this kind of therapy, you do the thing that results in anxiety. The professional then deters you from reacting with a compulsion. For instance, the professional may ask you to touch dirty items but halt you from scrubbing your hands.

What occurs if CBT and drugs do not work for OCD? If OCD does not respond to any medication and CBT, a professional may try to enhance mood, precisely depression, with these therapies:

  • Electroconvulsive therapy: Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) uses electrodes connected to the head. These wires provide electric shocks. These shocks inflict small seizures, which assist the brain in discharging helpful chemicals.
  • Transcranial magnetic stimulation: Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) utilizes a magnetic device placed on the head. It provides electrical impulses to the brain. These impulses induce the brain to discharge chemicals known to enhance mood. The professional might indicate using mindfulness to treat the obsessive-compliance disorder and to increase the usefulness of other Obsessive-compulsive disorder medication.


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