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Future Health

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

October 31, 2022 

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a common, but chronic disorder. OCD is when you have uncontrollable or recurring thoughts (obsessions) and/or behaviors (compulsions) that you feel the urge to repeat. This disorder tends to interfere with all aspects of life, including work, school, and personal relationships. Some signs and symptoms that would reference to OCD would be the following:

Obsessions (repetitive thoughts, urges or mental images that can cause anxiety)

● Fear of germs or contamination
● Unwanted thoughts whether sexual, religious, or harmful

● Aggravated thoughts towards others or oneself
● The need to have things “perfect”

Compulsions (repetitive behaviors as a response to obsessive thoughts)

● Excessive cleaning
● Ordering and arranging things in a particular way

● Repeatedly checking on things
● Compulsive counting


● Cannot control thoughts or behaviors

Those who struggle with an obsessive-compulsive disorder may also have a tic disorder. Motor tics are sudden, brief repetitive movements. Commonly with this disorder, one may have a vocal tic. Vocal tics include repetitive throat clearing, sniffling, or even grunting. All symptoms may come and go, but usually last at least an hour a day, and are easily recognizable.

There are risk factors for this disorder. Some include genetics, brain structure and function, and environment. When it comes to genetics, it can be passed down through generations. With that said, on the other hand, the brain structure or function could affect someone. Those who suffer from OCD have different frontal cortex (responsible for emotion control, motor function and other higher cognitive functions) and subcortical structure (deep in the brain where one processes and relays the cognitive functions) than those who do not. The environment depends on how one surrounds themselves.

Regarding treatment, one can use medications or psychotherapy. The types of psychotherapy that can be done via Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) or Exposure and Response Prevention (EX/RP).