Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is a type of anxiety disorder. The person suffering from OCD has a preposterous thought, worry or fear that he or she tries to overcome by involving in a ritualized activity.

Common obsessions include:

  1. Extreme preoccupation with germs or dirt
  2. A need to organize things in a certain order
  3. Repeated doubts (checking multiple time – burners on the stove, etc.)
  4. Thoughts of hurting someone or violence
  5. Spending long hours on counting or touching things
  6. Troublesome thoughts that are actually against one’s personal religious beliefs.
  7. Persistent thoughts of performing repugnant sexual activities

Despite the fact that the person with any of these obsessions know that the thoughts are not real and are unreasonable, he/she does not have control over these obsessions.

Common compulsions include:

  1. Washing hands repeatedly (more than 20 times).
  2. Multiple checking.
  3. Following inflexible rules of arranging things (arranging books, clothes, spices in the same sequence every day).

These compulsions can get to be extreme, problematic, and prolonged, and thus interfere with everyday activities and relationships.

Who is at risk?

OCD affects almost 2 million American adults. With equally affecting men and women, it often starts in early adulthood and might run in families. However, the disorder may accompany other anxiety disorder, eating disorder or depression. OCD is a common disorder that affects adults, adolescents, and children all over the world. Most people are diagnosed by about age 19, typically with an earlier age of onset in boys than in girls, but onset after age 35 does happen.


Medication, psychotherapy or the combination of both is typically used to treat OCD. Although most patients with OCD respond to treatment, some patients continue to experience symptoms.

Sometimes people with OCD also have other mental disorders, such as anxiety, depression, and body dysmorphic disorder, a disorder in which someone mistakenly believes that a part of their body is abnormal. It is important to consider these other disorders when making decisions about treatment.

Written by: H. Kaur

Edited by: J. Dias

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