Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder . The person suffers from unwanted repetitive thoughts and behaviors.
The cause is of OCD is unknown. OCD may be due to neurobiological, environmental, genetic, and psychological factors. An imbalance of a brain chemical called serotonin may play a major role.
Genetic Material The genes that you inherit from your family may play a role in the development of OCD. Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is an
. The person suffers from unwanted repetitive thoughts and behaviors.
OCD is usually diagnosed through a psychiatric assessment. OCD is diagnosed when obsessions and/or compulsions either:
- Cause significant distress
- Interfere with your ability to properly perform at work, school, or in relationships
There are no guidelines for preventing OCD because the cause is not known. However, early intervention may be helpful.
Factors that may increase the risk of OCD include:
- Age: late adolescence, early adulthood
- Family members with a history of OCD
Symptoms may include:
Obsessions—unwanted, repetitive, and intrusive ideas, impulses, or images; common obsessions include:
- Persistent fears that harm may come to self or a loved one
- Unreasonable concern with being contaminated
- Unreasonable concerns about safety
- Unacceptable religious, violent, or sexual thoughts
- Excessive need to do things correctly or perfectly
- Persistent worries about a tragic event
Compulsions—repetitive behaviors or mental acts to reduce the distress associated with obsessions; common compulsions include:
- Excessive checking of door locks, stoves, water faucets, and light switches
- Repeatedly making lists, counting, arranging, or aligning things
- Collecting and hoarding useless objects
- Repeating routine actions a certain number of times until it feels right
- Unnecessary rereading and rewriting
- Mentally repeating phrases
- Repeatedly washing hands
Conditions associated with OCD include:
- Other anxiety disorders
- Organic brain syndrome
- Tourette syndrome
- Attention deficit disorder
If you have OCD, you may know that your thoughts and compulsions do not make sense, but you are unable to stop them.
Treatment reduces OCD thoughts and compulsions, but does not completely eliminate them. Common treatment approaches include a combination of medication and therapy.