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Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Updated
Mind It
2 min read
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Double-checking things at times is a common human condition.

When you're leaving your house for a long trip, you tend to double check if their doors are locked properly, or the ovens and gas is off.

It is quite normal to do so for the sake of safety and protection, but when people start to check the same things multiple times and they don't have control over the impulse to do so, it is considered a compulsion.

According to the American Psychiatric Association, Obsessive-Compulsive disorder is a condition of anxiety characterised by these compulsions or obsessions.

Obsessions and compulsions are recurrent and intrusive thoughts that are typically unwanted and tough to fight off.

To put it simply, in this case, the repetitive thoughts of 'the house is unsafe', is a reason for anxiety which leads to compulsionss that are actions performed to reduce the anxiety related to the obsessions.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: Causes

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder is generally detected in people in their teens or early adulthood. Researchers are still finding the exact cause of the disorder.

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It is believed it may be due to genetics, change in the body's chemistry and brain functions or external factors like infections.

Certain factors that may increase the risk of developing or triggering the disorder include family history, traumatic events such as history of child abuse or other stress inducing events.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: Symptoms

According to the US National Institute of Mental Health (NIH), people suffering from obsessive-compulsive disorder may suffer from compulsions, obsessions or both. Symptoms might not be evident at an early stage but tend to become severe with time. Some symptoms of the condition are as follows:

  • Taboo thoughts related to sex or religion

  • Aggressive behavior towards yourself or others

  • Compulsion to have things in order

  • Cleaning or washing repeatedly

  • No control over thoughts or emotions, and impulses

  • Difficulty in daily life due to these thoughts

Obsessive-Compulsion Disorder:Treatment 

This disorder can be treated with the help of certain medications or psychotherapy or both.

Some people may find these options helpful and others may continue to experience the symptoms. People with other health problems or mental disorders may be careful before undergoing a treatment for OCD.

Medications may include Serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SRIs) which help reduce the symptoms and might take 10-12 weeks to show the difference.

You should start or stop the medication only after consulting the doctor and contact him in case of any side effects.

Psychotherapy may include cognitive therapy wherein you will be taught to behave or think in a certain way.

Doctors may even suggest you to face the situations that triggers the OCD and see if you behave differently.

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