Diseases & Conditions


OCDCausesMedicationsPreventionRisk FactorsSymptomsTreatmentTypes

What is OCD?

OCD or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is an anxiety disorder, where the sufferer is plagued by obsessive, intrusive or unpleasant thoughts causing him to conduct certain repeated behaviour.

Causes of OCD

OCD is believed to be caused by a certain neurobiological disorder, wherein a malfunction of a circuit in the brain causes the person to repeatedly feel certain impulses. Psychodynamic theories suggest that Obsessive Compulsive Disorders are caused by a conflict that one is trying to resolve or suppress unconsciously.

Medication for OCD

Medications used to treat Obsessive Compulsive Neurosis are mainly Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRI’s) such as:

  • Fluoxetine (Prozac)
  • Paroxetine (Paxil)
  • Citalopram (Celexa)
  • Fluvoxamine (Luvox)
  • Escitalopram (Lexapro)

In some cases an addition of a Neuroleptic such as Risperidone (Risperdal) or Aripiprazole (Ability) may be required.

Prevention of OCD

There is currently no known prevention for Obsessive Compulsive Neurosis, but one can prevent a bad relapse from occurring by regularly attending therapy sessions and by being regular with prescribed medications.

Risk Factors of OCD

Obsessive Compulsive Neurosis is not known to have many other risk factors other than the person not being able to lead a normal life because of the constant interference of abnormal thoughts and the resulting compulsive behaviour. Some minor risks may result out of the compulsive behaviour. For example repeatedly washing one’s hands or having a bath may lead to dry skin or skin problems. In some cases untreated OCD can lead to suicide.

Symptoms of OCD

People with the Obsessive Compulsive Neurosis condition can be seen to have irrational and urgent compulsive behavioral tendencies. This should not be confused with non OCD people who also may also have the tendency to carry out repeated actions, such as checking if the geyser switch has been put off several times, before leaving the house. The difference with people who have an Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is that their obsessions come in the way of them carrying out routine day to day activities and leading a normal life.

Treatment for OCD

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder cannot be completely eliminated, but can be brought under control with psychotherapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy and various medications, especially antidepressants.

Types of OCD

There are several types of Obsessive Compulsive Disorders, which are sometimes also known as Obsessive Compulsive Neurosis, but the 5 main kinds are:

  • Washers and Cleaners: This type of OCD sufferers are obsessed with the fear of getting contaminated by germs, dirt, viruses and infections. As a result they feel the need to constantly wash their hands or have a shower numerous times a day.
  • Checkers: In this case, the individual is plagued with thoughts that he/she has forgotten to do something – usually to turn off a switch or lock a door – and that this will cause a great catastrophe leading to harm to himself or others. As a result these individuals are constantly involved in checking and re-checking switches, locks, doors, etc.
  • Orderers: In this case the individual has an obsession with keeping things in a particular order and is not able to focus or function until things are “just so”.
  • Hoarders: These Obsessive Compulsive Disorder type individuals collect items that they believe will be required by them. Some hoarders may collect items that others would consider garbage, while some may collect useful items such as salt packets. However, the individual’s obsession results in collecting far too many items that they will actually use in their lifetime.
  • Obsessers: These OCD sufferers repeatedly experience thoughts that show them harming themselves or others. To deal with this they indulge in certain repeated actions, such as counting in their head or on their fingers or repeating certain words.