ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder : Causes Consequences and Treatment

Updated on September 18, 2013

What is OCD?

The obsessive compulsive disorder (also known as OCD), is an anxiety disorder characterized by obsessions and compulsions that causes repeated unwanted thoughts.

It is a disorder that can occur in both childhood and adulthood, although the peak time is between 15 and 25 years. Affects approximately 2-2.5% of the general population means that out of 100 people, 2 or 3 will develop the disorder in their lifetime.

It is a chronic illness, although with alternating phases of improvement and deterioration, can cause problems in relationships, or in work, school etc.

The person often feels compelled to act or think in a way symptomatic and therefore seeks to oppose and resist. Despite trying to fight and to hide his actions or his thoughts, this effort does not help at all.

The cause of obsessive compulsive disorder is not known yet. The most common theory for the cause is lack of a brain chemical known as serotonin.

Symptoms of OCD

The central symptom of OCD is the presence of obsessions and compulsions which interfere with the activities of daily life. The disorder is recognized as such only if the presence of obsessions and compulsions leads to a distress, impairs the normal social and occupational life of the individual.

Main symptoms of the disorder are:

• repetition, frequency and persistence of obsessive activity;

• the feeling that this activity is required and is compulsive.

OCD cycle
OCD cycle | Source

The obsessions

The obsessions are ideas, thoughts, impulses, or images that arise suddenly in the mind and that are perceived as intrusive, annoying and meaningless.Examples of Obsessions are thoughts like
"I could be infected with the HIV virus if I touch the bathroom door" or
"I must not think of the name of the people I love in the hospital, otherwise they may get sick"
"If I do not check that all files are closed, something bad will happen"
"I could say something bad without realizing it."

These are recurrent intrusive thoughts and / or persistent (i.e these thoughts occupy the mind for a long time).

The person with OCD live with pain and discomfort due to the presence of these thoughts.

The Compulsions

The second category of symptoms are compulsions. They consist of mental and behavioral actions that occur in response to obsessions and which represent an attempt for a solution, usually followed by a sense of relief from the discomfort caused by the obsessions, even if it is only a temporary relief. For example, washing your hands with antiseptic over and over as a response to obsession "my hands are full of germs!!"

Those who have this disorder usually hides their concerns because they think that their behavior and thoughts are absurd and disturbing and they are ashamed. Expressions of OCD patients are: "I do not understand why I act this way," "Maybe I'm going crazy!" Or "If people knew that I have these thoughts, they'll take me for a fool."


There are several symptoms for this disorder

Some are tormented by the insistent concern that they or a family member can get sick coming into contact with some invisible germ or toxic substance. These "contaminants" include substances such as urine, blood, sweat, soaps, solvents etc. This type of obsession result in continuous attempt to neutralize the contamination. Example: washing hands, clothes or other personal items repeatedly.

Some are manifested by the impulse to accumulate and store items, even unwanted products (e.g newspapers, empty cigarette packets, empty bottles), because "one day or the other it might be useful".

Some simply cannot withstand asymmetry. Books, papers, pens, towels, videotapes, clothes, dishes, must be perfectly aligned, symmetrical and ordered according to a specific logic (size, color etc). When the patient encounters an imbalance or disorder he spends many hours to tidy up these objects.

The consequences

OCD can have serious consequences because it usually affects children, threatens the course of study, the ability to work, the normal life and relationship. For example, people with OCD often takes much longer to graduate, sometimes even give up, at work often have to settle for jobs of low responsibility. The disorder, therefore, greatly reduces the ability of existential realization, reflecting negatively on the quality and duration of friendships and affection. It not only affects the patient but also family members. They may have to care for the patient all day long.

Care and treatment

Medicines and cognitive-behavioral therapy are more effective treatments.

Medicines include selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRI) and other anti- depressant drugs.

The Cognitive-Behavioral Psychotherapy is currently considered one of the most reliable and effective models for the understanding and treatment of psycho pathological disorders.It is also called exposure and response prevention. For example, if you were disturbed with the concern of getting germs from the stuff you touch, you will be made to touch the stuff until you are relaxed and the fear of getting germs gone. These treatments can make your symptoms less severe. But you may still have some mild symptoms after you begin treatment.

Documentary on OCD

OCD: The War Inside is a wonderful documentary on OCD and how to overcome it. A must watch film.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)