Obsessive Compulsive Disorder: Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder: Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment | HealthSoul

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is called OCD for short. It occurs when a person has an unreasonable pattern of thoughts and fears. This can lead them to do repetitive things called compulsions. Over time, they develop an obsession with these compulsions and can’t stop doing them. They can interfere with their daily lives and cause a lot of stress for the sufferer.

OCD Causes

The causes of OCD are not known, but there are certain factors that can make a person more likely to suffer from it. Knowing the cause or trigger of the disease can help doctors come up with the right treatment option for each patient. Some common causes include:

  • Brain chemistry
  • Genetics
  • Environmental factors
  • Family history
  • Stressful life events
  • Mental health disorders

OCD Symptoms

The symptoms of OCD can vary, but most of the time, they follow a theme. Many of the common compulsions center around a fear or belief. Some common symptoms and compulsions include:

  • Fear of dirt
  • Fear of illness
  • Need for patterns
  • Harmful thoughts
  • Unwanted thoughts
  • Sexual obsessions
  • Doubts of actions
  • Inability to hold back words
  • Avoidance of certain actions, things, or places
  • Intense stress about everyday life
  • Washing and cleaning
  • Checking
  • Counting
  • Orderliness
  • Following a strict routine
  • Demanding reassurance

OCD Diagnosis

OCD can sometimes be difficult to diagnose, even when the symptoms are obvious. The symptoms of OCD can also be the same for patients suffering from anxiety disorders, depression, schizophrenia, or other mental health disorders. Doctors have to rule out other illnesses and diseases. There are no tests that can confirm to see if a patient has OCD, but doctors do rely on some tests to help them diagnose the disease. These tests include:

  • Physical exam: The doctor performs a physical exam to rule out any physical problems that may be causing the symptoms or triggering the OCD.
  • Lab tests: Lab tests show doctors if there are any hormone problems, infections, parasites, drugs, or alcohol that could be causing the symptoms or diseases.
  • Psychological exam: The doctor will ask the patient a series of questions about his or her behavior, mood, and thoughts to determine if the person is suffering from OCD or another illness.

OCD Treatment

The treatment for OCD often depends on the triggers and causes of it and the patient’s overall health and preferences. There is no cure for the disease, but the proper treatment can help patients live normal lives. The two most common treatments include:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy: This form of treatment involves exposing patients to a feared object or obsession and having them learn healthy ways to cope with their anxiety.
  • Medication: Medications can help patients deal with their anxiety and also control their obsessions and compulsions.

OCD Prognosis

While there is no cure for OCD, there are ways to treat and manage it. It can be a struggle for people who suffer from this disease to live a normal life, but it is possible. Most people who suffer from this disease will need to receive treatment throughout their lives. It is possible to overcome the compulsions with proper treatment and continuous therapy.


American Psychiatric Association.