Obsessive-compulsive Disorder: What are the Symptoms and How to Treat Them?

Bajaj Finserv Health
January 31st, 2022
7 mins read

Key Takeaways

  • Compulsive disorders are categorized by unwanted recurring thoughts
  • Failed relationships and poor quality of life are some OCD complications
  • Excessive cleaning or washing hands is a symptom of compulsive disorder

Obsessive-compulsive disorder is a chronic and long-lasting mental health disorder. People with OCD disorder have unwanted, uncontrollable and recurring thoughts and sensations. This disorder makes a person repeat something over and over. 

Obsession includes unwanted thoughts or urges that cause distress. People suffering from compulsive behavior disorder try to get rid of their obsession by engaging in repetitive behaviors. An obsessive-compulsive disorder occurs when you get caught in the cycle of obsession and compulsion.

This mental disorder affects people of all ages and walks of life [1]. In fact, 2-3% of the general population experience compulsive disorders or OCD in their lifetime [2]. Compulsive thoughts and behaviors like cleaning or checking things frequently can significantly impact your daily routine and social life. Get the right care for mental health by reading this guide on obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Additional Read: Bipolar Disorder: 3 Types of Bipolar Disorder and their Treatment

Obsessive-compulsive Disorder

OCD (Obsessive-compulsive Disorder) Symptoms

People with OCD disorder may have symptoms of obsessions or compulsions or both. 

  • Obsessive symptoms

These are thoughts or images that cause anxiety and make you engage in compulsive behavior. Here are some types of obsessions:

  • Fear of dirt, germs, and contamination by touching objects or surfaces touched by others
  • Stress when things are not in perfect or symmetrical order
  • Aggressive or horrific thoughts involving yourself and others
  • Forbidden or unwanted thoughts about aggression, sex, or religion 
  • Difficulty in tolerating uncertainty such as doubts about locking the door
  • Thoughts of acting inappropriately in public 
  • Compulsive symptoms

Here are some examples: 

  • Excessive cleaning or washing of hands
  • Arranging things in a particular way
  • Counting repeatedly or in certain patterns
  • Frequently seeking reassurance from others
  • Repeating a word, phrase or prayer silently
  • Touching an object for a set number of times
  • Buying the same items several times or collecting certain objects
  • Hiding objects that could be used to hurt someone or yourself
  • Checking things repeatedly such as frequently seeing if the door is locked

OCD (Obsessive-compulsive Disorder) Causes

Although the causes of OCD disorder are unknown, here are some risk factors that may contribute to developing an obsessive-compulsive disorder.


Having a first-degree relative such as a parent, sibling, or child who has OCD increases your risk of developing the same.

Brain structure and functioning

A difference in brain structure is observed in patients with OCD. This may be a possible cause [3].


Many factors such as childhood trauma, stress, abuse, brain injury, and certain personality traits can increase the risk of OCD disorder.

types of OCD (Obsessive-compulsive Disorder)

(Obsessive-compulsive Disorder) OCD complications

Obsessive-compulsive disorder can lead to certain complications such as:

  • Relationship troubles
  • Poor quality of life
  • Suicidal thoughts and behavior
  • Spending excessive time engaging in ritualistic behaviors
  • Finding it difficult to attend school, work, or social activities
  • Getting contact dermatitis due to frequent washing of hands

Obsessive-compulsive Disorder Treatment

Consult your doctor or therapist if you experience any early signs of OCD. It can be treated with medication, therapy or a combination of both. 

  • Medication

A mental health professional may prescribe certain medications to reduce OCD disorder symptoms. These include selective reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), antidepressants, antipsychotics, and memantine. 

  • Psychotherapy

Psychotherapies can work as effectively as medication. Some therapies include cognitive behavior therapy, exposure and response prevention, habit reversal training, and mindfulness-based cognitive therapy.

Additional Read: A Guide on How Mindfulness Techniques Can Benefit your mental health

To know more about OCD and other mental health issues, you can participate in awareness programs. These may be conducted by various associations every year on 10 October, World Mental Health Day. Keep eating good food for mental health such as nuts and spinach 

and practice yoga for mental health too. Make sure you don’t ignore any signs of mental illness. Book an online doctor consultation on Bajaj Finserv Health to consult with the top professionals and receive the right OCD or OCPD treatment. You can also buy mental health insurance to cover unexpected medical costs related to such disorders.

Obsessive-compulsive Disorder: What are the Symptoms and How to Treat Them?-banner

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