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Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD): Meaning, Causes, Symptoms, Treatment

It is normal to check if you locked your door once or twice but when you have that unbeatable obsession and compulsion to do it again and again, your inner you feels irritate and helpless. That obsession and compulsion is nothing but obsessive compulsive disorder. Obsessive compulsive disorder is basically a disorder characterized by obsession or excessive thoughts which leads to unnecessary recurring behaviour or compulsion. It is a prolonged and a long term disorder.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) - Meaning, Causes, Symptoms, Treatment

OCD is seen as a mental disorder where one is compelled to do the tasks as rituals. This might sound weird to many but for the ones who experience it, know it very well that is no less than a scary nightmare. It interferes in one’s life affecting his or her happiness, freedom, confidence and personal relationships. The worst part is that the person loses control over his thoughts. He becomes a slave to his mind and surrenders his body to his thoughts. Despite the unwillingness to indulge in repetitive behaviour he just can’t stop. His body gets drained of energy and his confidence becomes hollow. Some of the common recurring activities that can be OCD are: checking if the door is locked, washing hands, constantly arranging things etc.


Some of the causes of obsessive compulsive disorder are listed below:

1) Genetic causes

You not only inherit values from your ancestors but their diseases too. Obsessive compulsive disorder is one of them. Children with parents affected with obsessive compulsive disorder are likely to have higher chance of having obsessive compulsive disorder.

2) Neurological causes

The architecture of brain is an important factor causing obsessive compulsive disorder. Although it is not known yet that what different formations exactly contribute to obsessive compulsive disorder but it is for sure that obsessive compulsive disorder victims have different formations than those who don’t have OCD. Disparity of serotonin and glutamate is one of the factors leading to obsessive compulsive disorder.

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3) Behavioural causes

It has been observed that the story of obsessive compulsive disorder begins when one has a fear in his or heart and to overcome that fear he/ she gets engaged into repetitive rituals. This is how that recurring behaviour originates.

4) Environmental causes

Series of nerve-racking and distressing events is one of the main triggers for obsessive compulsive disorder. Environmental triggers work as a catalyst for obsessive compulsive disorder. TBI or traumatic brain injury is one of the main risk factors that cause obsessive compulsive disorder in children or adolescents.

5) Personality factors

Immaculate, painstaking, well-systematized and methodical people who have different and higher established personal standards are at higher risk of suffering from obsessive-compulsive disorder.

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The symptoms of Obsessive compulsive disorder are categorized into two categories: obsessions and compulsions. Symptoms of both are listed below:

Some usual obsessions comprises of the following:

  1. Fear of being harmful to others
  2. Fear of losing one’s control over himself/ herself
  3. Possessing violent thoughts or imagination
  4. Desire for the existence of a particular order or symmetry
  5. Fear of indulging into immoral thoughts or activities
  6. Fear of committing a mistake or an irreversible error
  7. Fear of being mortified at indulging into a socially unacceptable demeanour
  8. Fear of getting dirty or being attacked by the germs

Some usual compulsions comprises of the following:

  1. Spending a lot of time in cleaning and washing chores
  2. Praying excessively or indulging into activities to curb religious fears
  3. Constantly counting while doing normal tasks
  4. Constantly arranging things in a specific order and sometimes eating in a specific order too
  5. Repeatedly chanting words, phrases or doing useless things to reduce anxiety
  6. Unwilling to shake hands with others or touch door handles etc
  7. Accumulating useless things like old books, papers, containers etc
  8. Excessive checking of switches, stoves, locks etc


The main methods of treatment for obsessive compulsive disorder include therapy and medications. Both of them are highlighted below.

1) Cognitive behavioural therapy or psychological therapy

This is a very effective technique as it helps one to fight their fears with valour rather than trying to do away with them with the aid of obsessions and compulsions and recurring thoughts and tasks. In most of the cases, this therapy renders immediate effects

2) Medicines

An anti-depressant called SSRI or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors tries and alters the chemical composition of one’s brain to trigger the root cause of obsessive compulsive disorder and uproot it and eliminate it. Medicines takes time to show its effects. Psychiatric medications can also be used to cure OCD.

So this was all that you should know about obsessive compulsive disorder. Now you can identify if you or someone you love is in need of help. And now you also know how to help that too the right way.

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