Condition: Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a common and debilitating mental health disorder in which a person has uncontrollable thoughts, rituals, preoccupations, and behaviors. People who have OCD possess recurring thoughts (“obsessions”) and/or behaviors (“compulsions”) that he or she has the strong urge to repeat countless times.

What are Obsessions?

Obsessions are defined as recurrent and intrusive thought, feeling, idea, or sensation. A person with an obsession can attempt to ignore or suppress these thoughts or images. They can try to neutralize them with another thought or action.
Examples of obsessions can include:

One might have one or multiple obsessions. There are many possible types of obsessions that may not be on this list. 

Some specific obsessive thoughts are generally known for pairing with certain compulsions. Examples of this include: an obsession with contamination leads to compulsive hand washing or showering; and obsessive doubt can lead to the compulsion of checking. 

Symptoms of Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) comprises either obsessions, compulsions, or both. The obsessions and/or compulsions are time-consuming (usually taking at least an hour a day) and can interfere with your life.

Causes of Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)

The Biology of OCD

Do Genetics Play a Role in OCD?

While research is still ongoing, those who have a parent, sibling, or child with the disorder have an increased risk of developing OCD themselves. Some researchers suggest the risk is greater if the relative developed OCD at a younger age.

Co-occurring Psychiatric Condition

While the rate of OCD in the general population is estimated to be approximately 2-3%, those suffering with the disorder tend to be at higher risk of other psychiatric illnesses. Common associated mental disorders include major depression, generalized anxiety disorder, phobias, panic disorder, and a history of tics.

Treatment for OCD

Many people tend to delay treatment for their OCD symptoms. This may cause a worsening in symptoms and decreased functionality. Many well-controlled studies have found that medications, behavioral therapy, or a combination of both work in reducing the symptoms.

Medications commonly used for OCD

There are several medications that can be effective in the treatment of OCD. This is a list of the FDA approved medications:
There are several medications that have shown to be effective in studies that are not FDA approved for OCD; these can also be considered.

Common Therapies for OCD

Most individuals with OCD would benefit from psychotherapy. There are several forms of effective therapy including:

In any type of therapy, the person must be truly committed to improvement. 

Any form of medication management and/or therapy is available with telehealth. 

There are several disorders that are related to OCD consisting of body dysmorphic disorder, hoarding disorder, trichotillomania (hair-pulling disorder), and excoriation (skin-picking) disorder.

What are Compulsions?

Compulsions are repetitive behaviors that a person feels the urge to do in response to an obsessive thought. These behaviors or mental acts are aimed at preventing or reducing anxiety or distress. The behaviors are excessive. Examples of compulsions can include:
Symptoms of Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)

It is important to state that OCD is a serious mental health condition. If one merely has some neat or cleanliness tendencies does not necessarily mean one has the disorder.