Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

What Is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder?

Excessive thoughts (obsessions) that lead to repetitive behaviors (compulsions). Obsessive-compulsive disorder is characterized by unreasonable thoughts and fears (obsessions) that lead to compulsive behaviors.OCD often centers on themes such as a fear of germs or the need to arrange objects in a specific manner. Symptoms usually begin gradually and vary throughout life. Treatment includes talk therapy, medication, or both.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a mental health condition characterized by a cycle of obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors. It can significantly affect an individual’s daily life, relationships, and overall well-being. OCD involves two main components:

  1. Obsessions: These are intrusive and distressing thoughts, images, or urges that repeatedly enter a person’s mind. These thoughts are unwanted and cause significant anxiety or discomfort. Common obsessions include fears of contamination, harm to oneself or others, and a need for symmetry or order.

  2. Compulsions: Compulsions are repetitive behaviors or mental acts that an individual feels compelled to perform in response to their obsessions. These behaviors are aimed at reducing the distress caused by the obsessions, even though they are often excessive or not connected to the perceived threat. Examples of compulsions include excessive handwashing, checking locks or appliances repeatedly, counting, or repeating specific phrases or prayers.


Behaviouralcompulsive behaviour, agitation, compulsive hoarding, hypervigilance, impulsivity, meaningless repetition of own words, repetitive movements, ritualistic behaviour, social isolation, or persistent repetition of words or actions
Moodanxiety, apprehension, guilt, or panic attack
Psychologicaldepression or fear
Also commonfood aversion, nightmares, or repeatedly going over thoughts
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a brain and behavior disorder that is categorized as an anxiety disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV). OCD causes severe anxiety in those affected and involves both obsessions and compulsions that interfere with daily life. Research suggests that OCD involves problems in communication between the front part of the brain and deeper structures. These brain structures use a chemical messenger called serotonin.
OCD causes severe anxiety in those affected and involves both obsessions and compulsions that interfere with daily life. Obsessions are persistent ideas, thoughts, impulses or images that are experienced as intrusive and inappropriate and cause marked anxiety or distress. The most common obsessions are repeated thoughts about contamination, repeated doubts, a need to have things in a particular order, aggressive or horrific impulses, and sexual imagery.
OCD is a common disorder that affects adults, adolescents, and children all over the world. Most people are diagnosed by about age 19, typically with an earlier age of onset in boys than in girls, but onset after age 35 does happen. For statistics on OCD in adults, please see the NIMH Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Among Adults webpage.


Long-term studies suggest that 32—70% of people with OCD experience symptom remission which suggests that recovery is a realistic, achievable goal for some people with the condition.


There are a number of medications that have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of OCD. As per PLCC’s Clinical Psychologist in Delhi, most of these drugs belong to a class of antidepressants called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs); however, one of these drugs, Anafranil, belongs to a class of drugs called the tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs).

Psychological Therapy

Psychological therapy for obsessive-compulsive disorder is effective for reducing the frequency and intensity of OCD symptoms. The two main types of psychological therapy for OCD are cognitive-behavioral therapy. (CBT) and a type of behavioral treatment called exposure and response prevention (ERP) therapy. 

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