Updated: Jul 9
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is recurring, but an obsessive pattern of unwanted thoughts or feelings that causes people to do repetitive behaviors. Examples include repetitive activities such as washing hands, checking things, or counting.
These obsessions and impulses significantly interfere with the daily and social activities of people with this disorder and also cause them great distress.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) usually includes both obsessions and compulsions. You may or may not realize that your symptoms are irrational or even excessive, but they take up a lot of time and interfere with your daily life, social activities, etc.
Obsessions “are recurrent and persistent thoughts, impulses, or images that cause distressing emotions such as anxiety, fear or disgust.” (Geller, 2022) Obsessions may include a fear of contamination, extreme concern with order, or recurrent unwanted intrusive thoughts of sounds, images, words, or numbers.
Compulsions “are repetitive and excessive behaviors or mental acts that a person feels driven to perform in response to an obsession.”(Geller, 2022) These behaviors might involve excessive cleaning, checking locks, counting, or approval seeking.
“The most effective treatments for OCD are Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) or medication. More specifically, the most effective treatments are a type of CBT called Exposure and Response Prevention. (ERP)” (International OCD Foundation, 2010a)
Exposure and Response Prevention is the most important type of CBT for OCD. “The exposure component of ERP refers to practicing confronting the thoughts, images, objects, and
situations that make you anxious or provoke your obsessions.” (International OCD Foundation, 2010b) The response prevention component of ERP refers to choosing not to engage in compulsive behaviors once anxiety or compulsions have been ‘triggered’. This type of treatment is usually done by a licensed mental health professional in an outpatient setting. These professionals include psychologists, mental health counselors, etc.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) Prevention:
Although there is no sure way to prevent OCD. However, seeking professional help and getting treatment as soon as possible may help you prevent your OCD from worsening and interfering with your daily life or normal activities in social settings.
American Psychiatric Association. (2022). What is OCD? | APA. In YouTube.
Geller, J. (2022, October). Psychiatry.org - What Is Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder?
International OCD Foundation. (2010a). How is OCD Treated? International OCD Foundation.
International OCD Foundation. (2010b). International OCD Foundation | Exposure and Response
Prevention (ERP). International OCD Foundation. https://iocdf.org/about-ocd/ocd-treatment/erp/
Mayo Clinic. (2020, March 11). Obsessive-compulsive Disorder (OCD) - Symptoms and Causes.
Mayo Clinic; Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/obsessive-compulsive-