Obsessive Compulsive Disorder or OCD is an anxiety disorder which is classified as repetitive unwanted thoughts or sensations (obsessions) which causes anxiety, followed by the urge to do a behavior or a pattern of behaviors (compulsions) to ease the anxiety. Unlike the media representation as seen in movies and shows a person who likes to stay clean and keep their surroundings orderly might not actually be suffering from OCD (even though that can be a common symptom). For a person to be diagnosed with the disorder the compulsion habits must be dysfunctional, cause distress and also be time consuming rather than just wanting to stay clean or keep your house clean.
Common Symptoms Include:
• Compulsive behaviors
• Compulsive hoarding to relieve stress and anxiety
• Impulsivity in action
• Ritualistic behaviors around Obsessions
It is generally a misconception that people with OCD “love” cleaning or doing any of the other compulsive behaviors that they may have developed over time. So then what causes people to develop OCD? Compulsions are learned behaviors, which become habitual and ritualistic as a way to deal with the anxiety, and that anxiety could have developed due to a traumatic event from the past.
For example, a person who is hypervigilant and obsessive about locking doors developed this behavior to deal with the anxiety which was triggered when a burglar entered their house when they were young, causing them to develop these patterns of thought and behavior.
It is also found that OCD has a few biological causes as well such as hereditary factors and is believed to happen due to suboptimal functioning of neuroreceptors and transmitters that work with serotonin in the brain.
Seeking professional help from counselors, therapists or psychiatrists can help the patient cope and overcome this disorder, medication is also given to patients in some cases.