By Nasrin Kapadia

B. A. Psychology

26 September 2021
Medically reviewed by
Dhanashree Padhye
MA (Psychology)
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
Table of Contents

What really is OCD?

There is a lot of mistaken belief about OCD. A lot of people think it is primarily related to cleanliness. A part of it yes is related to cleanliness but not all.

You may well be very comfortable in a messy environment yet suffer from OCD. OCD as the same suggests is a state of mind where you do something obsessively and compulsively.

No matter how much you try, you ate not able to stop it. That is OCD for you in a nutshell! In fact, there is no one better than me to tell you about this, because I suffer from OCD myself. 

My OCD is quite unrelated to cleanliness. I am not saying I am fine with a completely dirty set up! Come on, who likes a cumbersome environment!

Most of us like to remain neat and clean. But, if for some reason I am not able to sort out the mess in my room for a few days, I will be just fine.

Does that mean I don’t have OCD? Naah! In fact, I have one of the weirdest form of OCD which is scalp skin picking. I want my skin to remain even, no matter what!

Dandruff comes and goes and so if at all dandruff peaks, my skin picking also peaks. Why is this an OCD? Well, because there are days when I can go on and on for hours!

Like literally! I will not move till I feel I have evened out my skin. This means blisters on the skin and hours of time wasted in a completely unproductive manner.

The classic element of OCD is that even if you want to stop you just can’t stop. You let go of important commitments in the wake of OCD. It also tends to aggravate with stress.

Why am I sharing my experience in so much detail? Well, basically to let you know that OCD is beyond cleanliness and I am a living example of the same.

OCD is quite common. Here are some statistics for you:

You or your loved one’s space too may get compromised by this debilitating illness which has no real evidence. It is important to understand this illness to find the solution for it. (Diedrich, A. and Voderholzer, U., 2015.)

Let’s begin with Symptoms of OCDs

OCD Symptoms

OCD Symptoms can be categorized into two broad categories which are Obsessions and Compulsions:

  • Obsessions: Thinking over the same thing again and again. Inability to control thoughts. No matter how much you try you still end up thinking over the same thing repetitively. This can lead to isolation.
  • Compulsions: Just like obsessive thoughts, compulsive behavior implies continuous repetitive action. You may start to feel severely distressed if you are not able to carry out the action.

Types of OCD

The number of types of OCDs are a lot. However, here let me share with you the most dominant forms of OCDs.

  • Contamination: This is the most well-known form of OCD. The sufferers of this form of OCD is obsessed with hygiene. They are constantly scrubbing and cleaning.
  • Relationships: They are insecure about their relationships. They obsess over their partners, children and friends. Almost anyone whom they are in a relationship with.
  • Order: Here the patient is obsessed with order, perfectionism, being just right, symmetry etc. They expect things to take place in a specific way else they get anxious.
  • Pure OCD: This is an OCD which is characterised by Obsessions but not Compulsions. It is a kind of OCD which is more like inside the head and has no visible evidence on the outside.
  • Hoarding: As the name suggests this is a very self-explanatory disorder. Here the person keeps buying things in bulk, will not remove unwanted items leading to hoarding.
  • Checking: This involves doing repetitive safety checks. From doors to appliances the person keeps checking again and again as they fear a catastrophe.
  • Taboo Thoughts: In this case there are constant thoughts that are considered a taboo in the society. From sexuality to harming others, the patient has constant negative thoughts.

Causes of OCD

The main cause of OCD is not known. However the following few factors are considered to be most dominant as per certain psychotherapist and psychiatrists:

  • Genetics: Sometimes it is just the way our brain is designed. Our family history and genetics can lead us to having trouble with OCD.
  • Chemical Changes in the brain: Often times we are born with the right frame of mind. Just kidding. Our brain may undergo some chemical changes which can lead to OCD.
  • Environmental Factors: At times our OCD is a form of a learned behavior. When we see people around us suffering from OCD. We unconsciously imbibe the same traits.

Recovery From OCD

The overall awareness of mental disorders have risen over the last few years. Consequently, the solutions and remedies have also improvised for all forms of mental issues.

OCD is the same. Doctors have researched well on this illness. You can consider the following options to toe the fine line of OCD.

  • Acceptance: Begin with accepting the disorder. If we keep denying that there is an issue then it will never be possible to recover.
  • Psychotherapy: A good many times people around us do not understand why we are behaving the way we are. A professional can benefit.
  • Lifestyle Changes: Keep yourself occupied with things you like. Avoid stress. Stress aggravates OCD so it would be wise to remain calm.
  • Medications: It may be possible that therapy and lifestyle changes do not help. In this case you may have to go one step further and take medicines.
  • Support Group: OCD can make you feel very lonely. Become a part of a support group. Facebook has several such groups. They can help.
  • Sustained Treatment: In the end, be consistent with your treatment. Not being regular with therapy and medication can lead to relapses.

I hope all my insights on OCD has helped you look at OCD more clearly. This is a battle you can definitely win! So keep at it. Cheers!

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