OCD | Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) causes repetitive behaviors and/or thoughts. People who have OCD may not see changes in their own behavior. There is help and effective treatment for OCD.

What is OCD?

Obsessive compulsive disorder, or OCD, is a condition that causes someone to have the same thoughts or behaviors over and over again. OCD can affect quality of life and a patient’s health.

OCD risk factors

The exact cause of obsessive compulsive disorder is unknown.

Genetic, biological and environmental factors may play a hand in OCD development.

People can develop OCD at any age, though it is most commonly diagnosed during childhood or adolescence.

OCD symptoms

OCD affects everyone differently. Some specific symptoms of OCD include:

  • Needing things to be symmetrical or in perfect order

  • Fear of germs or contamination

  • Excessive cleaning

  • Repeating tasks already done

  • Ordering and arranging things in precise ways

  • Checking on things repeatedly

  • Trouble controlling thoughts and behaviors

  • Tic disorders

  • Fear of doing something wrong

  • Intrusive thoughts about something bad happening to oneself or others

Diagnosing and treating OCD

Your healthcare provider will talk with your about symptoms to determine obsessions, compulsions or both.

Physical examination and tests may be conducted to rule out other issues that may cause OCD symptoms.

Treatment for OCD

  • Psychotherapy and talk therapy can help patients work through their obsessions.

  • Patients may undergo supervised exposure to situations that stress them and practice not responding with their compulsive behaviors; this helps them learn how to tolerate anxiety without acting on compulsions.

  • Medication can help reduce obsessions and compulsions.

Patients can experience relapses if they stop taking their medication before they are fully treated.

Consult your healthcare provider if you miss a dose or believe you no longer need medication.

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