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Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Also called: OCD

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a type of anxiety disorder. If you have OCD, you have frequent, upsetting thoughts called obsessions. To try to control the thoughts, you feel an overwhelming urge to repeat certain rituals or behaviors. These are called compulsions.

Examples of obsessions are a fear of germs or a fear of being hurt. Compulsions include washing your hands, counting, checking on things, or cleaning. With OCD, the thoughts and rituals cause distress and get in the way of your daily life.

Researchers think brain circuits may not work properly in people who have OCD. It tends to run in families. The symptoms often begin in children or teens. Treatments include therapy, medicines, or both. One type of therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, is useful for treating OCD.

NIH: National Institute of Mental Health

Symptoms of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

The following features are indicative of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder:
  • fear of contamination or dirt
  • needing things orderly and symmetrical
  • aggressive or horrific thoughts about harming yourself or others
  • unwanted thoughts, including aggression, or sexual or religious subjects
  • checking and rechecking actions
  • repeating words silently
  • praying silently over and over
  • eye blinking
  • facial grimacing
  • shoulder shrugging
  • head jerking
  • repeated clearing of the throat, sniffing, or grunting sounds

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Common Causes of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

The following are the most common causes of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder:
  • changes in body's own natural chemistry or brain functions
  • genetic factors
  • environmental factors
  • head injury
  • infections
  • abnormal function in certain areas of the brain

Other Causes of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

The following are the less common causes of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder:
  • child abuse
  • stress

Risk Factors for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

The following factors may increase the likelihood of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder:
  • family history
  • stressful life events
  • mental health disorders

Prevention of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

No, it is not possible to prevent Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.
  • genetic factors

Occurrence of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Number of Cases

The following are the number of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder cases seen each year worldwide:
  • Very common > 10 Million cases

Common Age Group

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder can occur at any age.

Common Gender

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder can occur in any gender.

Lab Tests and Procedures for Diagnosis of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

The following lab tests and procedures are used to detect Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder:
  • Physical exam: To check out other problems
  • Lab tests: To check complete blood count (CBC), thyroid function and to screen for alcohol and drugs
  • Psychological evaluation: To evaluate the disorder

Doctor for Diagnosis of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Patients should visit the following specialists if they have symptoms of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder:
  • Psychiatrist

Complications of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder if untreated

Yes, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder causes complications if it is not treated. Below is the list of complications and problems that may arise if Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder is left untreated:
  • contact dermatitis from frequent hand-washing
  • inability to attend work, school or social activities
  • troubled relationships
  • overall poor quality of life
  • suicidal thoughts and behavior

Procedures for Treatment of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

The following procedures are used to treat Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder:
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT): To bring symptoms under control
  • Exposure and response prevention (ERP): Helps to learn healthy ways to cope with anxiety
  • Surgery: To reduce disease related symptoms

Self-care for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

The following self-care actions or lifestyle changes may help in the treatment or management of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder:
  • Pay attention to warning signs: Keeps you alert about what to do if symptoms return
  • Practice disease identifying techniques: Helps identifying techniques and skills that help manage symptoms

Alternative Medicine for Treatment of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

The following alternate medicine and therapies are known to help in the treatment or management of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder:
  • Do meditation: Helps reducing stress
  • Get massage therapy: Helps relaxing the body and reduce stress
  • Do yoga: Helps in easing stress and anxiety
  • Practice deep breathing: Helps in easing stress and anxiety
  • Get tai chi therapy: Helps in easing stress and anxiety

Patient Support for Treatment of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

The following actions may help Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder patients:
  • Learn about OCD: Helps empowering and motivating the patient to stick to a treatment plan
  • Join a support group: Reaching out to others facing similar challenges can provide support and helps coping with challenges
  • Exercise: Helps coping up with symptoms
  • Healthy diet: Helps coping up with challenges
  • Adequate sleep: Helps relaxing the body

Related Topics

Last updated date

This page was last updated on 2/04/2019.
This page provides information for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.

Related Topics

Anxiety

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