What is Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) 

An obsessive-Compulsive disorder, commonly known as OCD, is when some people have the same thoughts, ideas, or sensations (Obsession), which makes them feel like doing any activities repetitively (Compulsion). Some activities like cleaning your hands or checking on things can interfere with your daily schedule. It affects people of all ages. 

For people who are suffering from this disorder, their behavior is very rigid. They feel stressed when they don’t do their activities at a certain point. People with OCD might not be able to acknowledge that they are doing any action with excessive amounts. People with OCD will face difficulty when they are trying to restrain their behavior or obsessive thoughts. 


You might not be able to detect that your obsession or compulsion is excessive or unreasonable. They may take a great deal of time and might start interfering in your daily activities, school, or work tasks too. Symptoms may include obsessive or compulsive ones or both. 

Obsessive Symptoms 

Obsessive symptoms are repeated, persistent or unwanted thoughts that can cause stress in a person suffering from OCD. The Obsessive symptoms include: 

  1. Fear of dirt 
  2. Having difficulty while tolerating uncertainty 
  3. Needing things in an orderly and systematic manner. 
  4. Unwanted thoughts on sexual desire or aggression or religious subjects. 
  5. Doubting any uncertainty 

Example of Obsessive symptoms are: 

  1. Fear of touching objects which are touched by other peoples. 
  2. Having constant doubt if you have locked your door or turned off your stove. 
  3. They get stressed if their file or things are found in the same place where they usually find them or in a manner which they always keep it. 

Compulsive Symptoms 

Compulsive symptoms include behavior that is done by people to relieve their anxiety. They may always feel the urge to do it. They are unable to stop their urge to do the activity, which relieves their anxiety. Compulsive symptoms are not related to the cause of OCD or related to anything that can help treat their OCD. They are just like a ritual people make for themselves. The Compulsive symptoms may include:

  1. Washing their hands or things which other person touch 
  2. Keeping their surrounding clean 
  3. Keeping things in an orderly manner 
  4. Follow a strict routine 
  5. Always demands reassurance 

Example of Compulsive symptoms may include things like:

  1. Washing your hand until your hand becomes rough
  2. Always checking door or stove repeatedly 
  3. Always keep your things like file, utensil in a specific order


There are few steps through which we can diagnose that a person is suffering from OCD:

  • Physical Examination/psychological evaluation 

In this doctor will sit with you and discuss your feelings, thoughts, or habits 

  • Lab Tests 

They will take your blood sample for observing your blood count,  functioning of your Thyroid, screening of alcohol or substance use.

  • Diagnostic criteria for OCD 

DSM-5 issued by the American Psychiatric Association can be helpful to diagnose OCD. 


There is no cure for OCD, but you may be able to manage how your symptoms affect your daily life. Doctors use medication or therapies to control the symptoms of OCD. Few things that the doctor will help you with will be 

  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy 

This helps you to change your thinking pattern. It is also known as Exposure or response prevention. In this therapy, the doctor will put you in a situation that can trigger your anxiety which will help you to lessen or stop your OCD thoughts.

  • Relaxation 

Medication, Yoga, and massage can help you deal with the stressful symptoms of OCD. 

  • Medication 

Doctors may prescribe you drugs called selective serotonin, which reuptake inhibitors and help people control obsession and compulsion. The medicine can take up to 2-4 months to start working.

  • Neuromodulation

When therapy and medication are not working, then doctors use neuromodulation to treat patients with OCD. Neuromodulation is FDI-approved for the treatment of OCD. In this treatment, they use magnetic fields to stimulate your nerve cells. 

  • Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) 

In this treatment, they target a particular part of the brain which regulated the symptoms of OCD. 


The cause of OCD is still unknown, but some factors like genetics or environment play a key role. Some factors include: 

  • Drug-induced OCD 

Some medications can be the cause of OCD in some people without any previous symptoms. DSM-5 includes drug-induced OCD. A second-generation antipsychotics called Olanzapine has been proven to cause OCD in patients. 

  • Genetics 

Genes play an essential role in OCD. Gene transfer for OCD is seen in 45-65% of cases. In 2007 a study found the possibility of a heritable risk for OCD. 

And when people with no family history of OCD get this disorder, it can be due to mutation in the human serotonin transporter gene HSERT. 

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