Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: Symptoms & Treatment

By January 19, 2021 No Comments
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: Symptoms & Treatment

Obsessive-compulsive disorder is often misunderstood as habits like biting your nails or having negative thoughts. An obsessive idea might be that specific numbers or colours are “good” or “bad.” A compulsive practice may be to wash your hands excessively after touching something dirty. Although you may not want to think or do these things, you feel helpless to resist doing them.

In the United States, the obsessive-compulsive disorder affects about one in every 40 people, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. The World Health Organisation ranks OCD as the leading cause of disease-related disabilities worldwide.

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a mental condition that triggers repetitive, intrusive thoughts or emotions (obsessions) or the desire to do something again and again (compulsions).


Symptoms of OCDD:

  1. Checking

Repetitive checking is one of the most common symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder. This may include repetitively and obsessively checking doors and electronic devices to make sure they’re locked or turned off.


  1. Contamination

Fear of viruses, dirty surfaces, and even contact with others highlight contamination OCD. Without excessive hand or body washing and avoidance of others and constant sterilization of surfaces, the individual in question feels vulnerable or contaminated.


  1. Intrusive Thoughts

Inner questions about one’s disturbing ruminations over “what if” scenarios are all examples of intrusive thoughts. The critical point here is that the individual can’t stop this steady stream of unwanted thoughts


  1. Symmetry

Perhaps the most widely known type, symmetry OCD leads to individuals fixated on creating order and symmetry to bring balance and harmony to an environment at the expense of their mental stability. Prime examples of symmetry and ordering compulsions are carefully sorting household objects and lining up items at restaurants and other public places.


OCD Treatment

Through medications, counseling, or a combination of therapies, you may be able to control how your symptoms affect your life.

Some treatments include:



Cognitive-behavioral therapy can help alter the habits of your thought. Your doctor will place you in a situation intended to cause fear or set off compulsions in a way called exposure and reaction prevention. You will learn to reduce your OCD thoughts or behaviors and avoid them.



Stressful OCD symptoms can be helped by simple things such as meditation, yoga, and massage.



Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors or psychiatric medications help many people manage obsessions and compulsions. It will take them 2 to 4 months to start working. Citalopram (Celexa), fluoxetine (Prozac), fluvoxamine, paroxetine (Paxil), and sertraline are some examples of psychiatric medications used to treat OCD. Your doctor could also give you antipsychotic medication if you still have symptoms.



In rare cases, your doctor can speak to you about devices that alter the electrical activity in a specific region of your brain if therapy and medication are not making enough of a difference. Transcranial magnetic stimulation is an FDA-approved treatment for OCD that incorporates magnetic fields to activate nerve cells.

The TMS unit is a non-invasive device held above the head to trigger a magnetic field. It targets a particular part of the brain that controls the symptoms of OCD.


Seeking Professional Help

Symptoms can come and go, ease up or worsen over time. People with OCD may try to support themselves or use alcohol or drugs to relax by avoiding circumstances that cause their obsessions. Although most OCD adults understand that what they do does not make sense, some adults and most kids may not know that their conduct is out of the ordinary. In infants, parents or teachers usually first notice the OCD symptoms.

The onset of OCD can occur at any time. However, it mostly begins in the adolescent or young adults, and symptoms of OCD can become more intense over time. As this condition may become debilitating, treatment of this condition is imperative. A person should seek a mental health professional’s assistance with obsessive thoughts and compulsions that interfere with their quality of life.