Friday, July 6, 2012


What is Obsessive-compulsive disorder?
OCD is an illness characterized of some constant worries and fears which appear illogical or irrational to the person who is having it. But even than the sufferer is unable to let go or remove these worries for long time, he is only able to remove these worries for brief periods of time that too only after doing something which again appears irrational and excessive.

What is an Obsession?
Obsessions are thoughts, images, or a sudden intense desire that keeps coming to the mind of sufferer even when the person may find them senseless or even “bad” and unpleasant.

What is a compulsion?
A compulsion is a action that a person feels compelled to repeat again and again, though he or she has no desire to do so. These actions can be of any type some of the frequently seen behaviors are

  • Frequently washing hands for long duration, 
  • Taking long time in cleaning things,
  • Checking door locks, knobs, switches etc repeatedly even he remembers clearly that he has checked  it,
  • Keeping things in a “specific” order and feeling of major discomfort if things are not kept in that specific order,
  • Speaking some words or phrases silently,
  • Doing some acts such as moving in-out, up-down, etc repeatedly, etc.

How to identify OCD?
Obsessions and compulsions have few things in common like:-
·         An idea, a desire, an image forces into the person’s mind which is not liked by person,
·         A feeling of “something bad will happen” is experienced by the person either to himself or to family members,
·         In order to reduce this feeling, the person had to perform certain actions against his will,
·         The cycle goes on and on…..
·         The person recognizes it as irrational and senseless and feels a strong desire to resist
·         But they feel that they are compelled to take action to reduce it.

What are the major types of such thought that may disturb a person?
OCD may have 4 major types of content of disturbing thought:
Contamination of dirt and germs: the person usually believes that the contamination is spread from object to object or person to person by even a slight contact.
Irrational doubts: the person always feels guilty or responsible about having forgotten or committing something wrong which may have dire consequences.
Forceful thoughts: repetitive thoughts of sexual or aggressive acts that the person “feels” that he might have committed.
Symmetry: the person feels the need for precision or perfection and therefore become slow in performing the activities.

Is it only me who has this problem?
In general population 2-3 out of every 100 people suffer from OCD. 

At what age it can occur to me?
Though OCD can occur at any age, time or to person of any gender, but for men the average age of starting OCD is about 20 years and for women the average age of starting OCD symptoms is 22 years. At times people may have the illness even at the age of 35 or late. In some cases symptoms were found to be occurring at age of as young as 2-3 years.

What are the causes of OCD?
There are many reasons which are found to have their share in developing OCD but which of these reason is working in a person is not known. It is believed that not any one but the combination of the below mentioned reasons might be responsible for it:
  • Certain chemical (serotonin) disturbance/misbalance in the body,
  • Heredity can also play an important role. It can run in family from one generation to other,
  • Development of “faulty relationship” between a non-threatening thing with a fearful thing that produces fear, anxiety or discomfort,
  • In order to reduce this anxiety and discomfit the person discovers that certain actions reduce anxiety and develop active avoidance strategies to control the anxiety and accordingly, it strengthens and become fixed as learned pattern of compulsive behavior. 
Who have high chances of developing OCD?
Any person of  any gender, class, religion, caste or culture can have OCD. The chances of having it increase if there are other family members who are either having OCD or any other psychiatric problem.

Dose it ever get cured?
About 20-30% of patients having OCD recover completely from there symptoms whereas 40-50% have major improvement but not complete recovery. The recovery is facilitated by good support from family members and the persons own efforts to follow instruction of the professional Psychiatrist and Clinical Psychologist.

What are the treatments available?
OCD can be very effectively treated with the help of medications along with psychotherapy.  The medications are safe, non habit forming should be taken under supervision.
The most common and effective therapies for OCD are:
·         Exposure and response prevention in which the patient is repeatedly exposed to fearful thing that produces obsession and compulsive behaviors and helped in a scientific manner to control the symptoms,
·         Desensitization,
·         Thought stopping,
·         Flooding,
·         Aversive conditioning,
·         Group therapy,
·         Family therapy

Always remember –
·         It is an illness and not bad character,
·         Just like any other physical illness which has some causes and treatment OCD also has a treatment,
Contacting a mental health professional (Psychiatrist, Clinical Psychologist) on seeing any such symptoms is a good idea because right consultation at right time can help the person the most.


  1. I have being researching about obsessive-compulsive disorder and reading your blog, I found your post very helpful. - Generic Anafranil

  2. This article was really helpful, thanks for posting it. When I needed help with
    drug interventionist I knew that there was help that I could find.