What is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD): Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

obsessive compulsive disorder symptoms causes and treatment

7. Around 30% of victims first experience  obsessive compulsive disorder during childhood.

8. Another study revealed that childhood-onset OCD affects approximately 1-2% of children & adolescents.

9. A 1998 study by the NIMH found that among children and teenagers, boys are more likely to have this disorder before puberty as compared to girls.

10. In children, boys have a higher chance of having a family member with OCD than girls.

11. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “OCD ranks tenth in the World Bank’s and WHO’s ten leading causes of disability and, in the case of women aged 15-44 years, OCD occupies the fifth position.

12. One study found that over 33% of individuals with OCD reported experiencing occupational disability. Moreover, about 38% of the subjects said they were “unable to work due to psychopathology.” 

13. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), OCD is found equally in men and women.

14. Children with obsessive compulsive disorder can be effectively treated with therapy and medication with 60-70% children showing signs of significant improvement.

15. Therapy, along with medication is considered to be the most efficient treatment method for OCD 

16. 40-60% of people with OCD respond well to SSRI drugs & medication and they experience a 40-50% decrease in symptoms

Symptoms Of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder 

Most people feel obsessed and compelled to engage in their thoughts and habits even when they realize that these are illogical and irrational. To have a better understanding of this mental condition, we need to take a closer look at the 2 major aspects of this disorder:

  1. Obsessions
  2. Compulsions

Although OCD includes both the above aspects, it is possible for someone to have the symptoms of either obsession or compulsion.

1. Symptoms of obsessions

According to the American Psychological Association (APA), obsessions refer to persistent & recurrent impulses and thoughts that result in discomfort, disgust, stress, and anxiety. Although the individual may be aware that such impulses or thoughts are unreasonable and exist only in their minds, yet they cannot be controlled by reason or logic.

Here are some common symptoms of obsessions:

  • Fear of contamination
  • Fear of losing control
  • Fear of losing things
  • Fear of aggression towards self or others
  • Aggressive thoughts & violent images in mind
  • Worried about something terrible happening
  • Concern about exactness or perfectionism
  • Unwanted perverse sexual impulses or thoughts or images
  • Excessive concern with blasphemy, religion or morality
  • Excessive focus on superstitious ideas or luck
  • Putting things in perfect order or in symmetry
  • Avoiding trigger situations like shaking hands

Related: What Level Is Your OCD?

2. Symptoms of compulsions

Compulsions refer to repetitive and intrusive mental acts or behavior that an individual feels obsessed to perform or complete, as per the APA. Compulsions are usually an attempt at reducing or avoiding anguish or a dreaded situation. Although performing the compulsion may lead to temporary relief from worry and anxiety, the cycle of obsessions return and repeat.

Here are some common types and symptoms of compulsions:

  • Excessive cleaning of objects, washing hands, bathing, grooming etc
  • Repeatedly checking if things are done properly, like the door is locked
  • Constantly checking if anything harmful has happened to self or others
  • Repeating routine, daily activities or body movements
  • Doing a task multiple times
  • Compulsively counting to end a task on a lucky number
  • Mental reviewing events continually
  • Undoing or cancelling a task and redoing it
  • Arranging things properly until it’s done perfectly
  • Constantly seeking reassurance
  • Engaging excessively in religious rituals or praying constantly
  • Hoarding or gathering old objects considered junk

OCD symptoms may get worse or ease and may change over time. However, it is not necessary that you have it just because you have some symptoms of obsessions or compulsions. When you have OCD, you will spend a lot of time on your obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors. Moreover, it will cause you excessive distress and adversely affect your education, career, relationships, and personal life. 

What is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD): Symptoms, Causes and Treatment
What is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD): Symptoms, Causes and Treatment
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Theo Harrison

Hey there! I am just someone trying to find my way through life. I am a reader, writer, traveler, fighter, philosopher, artist and all around nice guy. I am outdoor person but heavily into technology, science, psychology, spiritualism, Buddhism, martial arts and horror films. I believe in positive action more than positive thinking.View Author posts