Your mother liked her figurines smallest to largest. Your friend chews food exactly 25 times before swallowing. Come to think of it, you do like your books stacked a certain way… We’ve all heard a phrase similar to “She’s OCD about her clothes” or “I’m real OCD about how I like my room.” However, none of what I’ve mentioned above is a direct sign of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. So there’s no need to go make an appointment just yet. 

Habitual conduct or Compulsions, that stem from unstoppable urges brought on by Anxiety, is called Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. Although a person may have similar practices that reflect this disorder, it does not mean they have it.  However, if you feel you or someone you know does, please continue on to be properly informed.


A mental illness with a Chronic or profuse disposition of Anxiety is Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. Individuals are in a dark pattern they cannot get out of. This disorder usually includes both obsessions symptoms and compulsions symptoms, but a person can experience one or the other. Although symptoms can eat up and disrupt a person’s regular life, the individual may not even be aware of the obstructive behavior.


Obsessions are unwanted intrusive thoughts that cause anxiety. Obsession themes are fear of germs, doubt and trouble dealing with it, needing things in a certain way and alignment, needing constant reassurance, combating thoughts about not having control and harming yourself or others, intruding thoughts on sexual or religious aspects. 

Obsession examples are fear of contamination of foreign surfaces, feeling tense when your possessions aren’t in ‘order’, hoarding, reciting phrases during tasks, eating for in the correct way, images of driving your car into a crowd of people, and unpleasant sexual images.

Compulsions are actions someone takes to get rid of obsessions and anxiety. Individuals are compelled to finish these tasks. Unfortunately, anxiety is never truly driven away from performing these rituals. Obsessive thoughts lead an individual to make a new order in their life to lessen anxiety. Compulsion themes are washing and cleaning, checking, counting, orderliness, following a strict routine, and demanding reassurance.  

Compulsion examples are raw hand skin-washing, getting up multiple times to make sure the door is locked or to make sure the stove is off, counting a particular way, soundlessly reciting phrases or prayers, or making sure your pantry foods are arranged the ‘correct’ way. The austerity of disorder is not the same for everyone. Symptoms often start small and then grow over time.

In the very first paragraph of this post, I brought up examples of people who have precise routines that they follow by heart. Most of what I brought up can help a person have an organized life but are not part of a disorder. They are not OCD. A person needs to keep on the lookout for regimens that disrupt their life. 


The root of OCD is not fully understood by scientists. OCD causes can be a small instalment or happen regularly after chapters in a person’s life. Speculations include relationship issues, relocating, experiencing issues at regular places a person visits, a person’s serotonin level drops, illness, abuse or history of abuse, excess brain activity, or death of loved ones. 


Symptoms of OCD begin impeding regular life events. Being late for an outing with friends or getting to sleep much later than usual lately are ways OCD can negatively affect someone’s life. A person with the disorder may be aware of having it but are still shackled by the disorder.


There is no cure but there is the treatment for OCD. The treatment is different for each individual. Psychotherapy and medication are the most common along with combining the two. One genre of Psychotherapy involves Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), which is very effective. Impulses brought on by OCD are combated by Exposure and response prevention (ERP), which is gradually exposing you to a feared object or obsession, like dirt, and learn to resist individuals’ collusion rituals. Individuals can achieve a better life and take charge of their disorder by applying ERP to their lives. OCD rituals can be reversed by some psychiatric medicines. Antidepressants are generally tried first. If an individual is 10 years old and up they can be prescribed Clomipramine (Anafril). If an individual is 7 years old and up they can be prescribed Fluoxetine (Prozac). Sertraline (Zoloft) is given to individuals 6 years old and up. Paroxetine (Paxil, Pexeva) is given to adults exclusively. These are just a few of the options doctors recommend. 

Make sure you go over all considerations with your healthcare provider. If a doctor gives multiple prescriptions they should begin with very low doses to see how symptoms are affected by it. The doctor will likely recommend the least amount needed to control the impulses. Treatment and medication could take weeks, if not months to take effect. Remember that medication of almost any kind has side effects, including what you may be prescribed. Keep track of your moods and any bodily changes you experience. Contact your doctor if you experience suicidal thoughts and behavior. This can increase in the early stages of taking medication. Note that suicidal patterns are meant to decrease in later stages of newly prescribed medication. Make sure you tell your healthcare provider all medications you take. Some prescription drugs can weaken the psychiatric medications you’re given.


OCD cannot always be treated by psychotherapy or medication. Fortunately, there are other options to look at. You could try Intense Outpatient and Residential Treatment programs. What this is a person who has trouble grappling goes to a program that focuses intently on ERP principled therapy for a few weeks. Another option is Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS). DBS is for patients who are at least 18yrs old who don’t respond well to regular treatment. The procedure includes Electrodes, which are embedded in a certain part of your brain, make electric impulses normalize a person’s OCD impulses. This is approved by the FDA. Lastly, there is Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation where if standard treatment isn’t working people between the ages of 22 and 68 use an FDA approved device called BrainsWAy Deep Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation. OCD indicators are amended by a noninvasive procedure that uses magnetic fields to stimulate nerve cells in the brain. An individual’s scalp has an electromagnetic coil placed near the forehead. Your brain is utilized by this coil there relieving OCD issues. It should go without saying that you should consult your doctor before trying TMS and DBS.


Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder is a mental illness that can negatively affect someone’s life. If you felt that you or someone you care about identifies with anything you’ve just read, please contact a trusted professional who can correctly give you the treatment for this condition. A person is strong and brave for taking that step and it could be the first step in monumentally improving a mind and a life.


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