Medbroadcast  Powered by MediResource
 Search

Go
 Browse alphabetically
ABCDEFGHIJKLMN
OPQRSTUVWXYZ
HEALTH TOPICS
Family & Child Health
Men's Health
Women's Health
Seniors' Health
Addiction
Allergy
Ankylosing Spondylitis
Arthritis (Rheumatoid)
Asthma
Atrial Fibrillation
Baby Health
Back Health
Bedwetting
Bladder (Overactive)
Brain Health
Cancer
Childhood Vaccinations
Cholesterol
Crohn's & Colitis
Cold and Flu
COPD NEW!
Cosmetic Procedures
Depression NEW!
Diabetes
Digestive Health
Ear Health
Eating Disorders
Eye Health
Flu (Seasonal)
Fertility
Fitness
Healthy Skin
Heart
High Blood Pressure
HPV
Hyperhidrosis
Incontinence
Infection
Kidney Health
Lung Health
Medications and your Health
Menopause
Mental Health
Multiple Sclerosis NEW!
Natural and Complementary Therapy
Nutrition
Obesity
Oral Care
Pain
Pregnancy
Psoriasis
Psoriatic Arthritis (PsA)
Seasonal Health
Sexual Health
Sleep Health
Stroke Risk Reduction
Smoking
Weight Management
Workplace Health
Yeast Infection
All health channels

STAY CONNECTED
RESOURCES
Ask an Expert
Clinical Trials
Find a Specialist
Health features
Human Atlas Videos
News
Tools


Condition Info Drug Info Tests and Procedures Natural Products Ask an Expert Support Groups Clinical Trials
Home Bookmark Page Send to a Friend Sante Chez Nous Subscribe
Mental Health > Anxiety disorders > Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
Mental Health
Anxiety disorders
Attention deficit disorder
Death and dying
Depression
Relationships
Sleep disorders
Stress
Heart and Stroke Foundation
Research news
Human Atlas Videos
What are anxiety disorders?
Generalized anxiety disorder
Panic disorder
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Social anxiety disorder (social phobia)
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
Phobias and fears
Compulsive hoarding
Anxiety symptoms
Is it anxiety or am I just stressed?
View All
Mental Health resources
Related channels
Health features
Health tools
Support groups
Related conditions
Natural products
Discussion forums



Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)

What is obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)?
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder in which a person experiences intrusive thoughts or images - obsessions - and develops ritualistic behaviours - compulsions - to try to cope with the anxiety that these intrusive thoughts cause. A person with OCD usually realizes that their obsessions are unreasonable or illogical but can do little to stop the thoughts or the behaviours that result.

What are the symptoms of OCD?
The symptoms of OCD differ from person to person, depending on their individual anxieties and coping behaviours.

The most common "obsessions" among those with OCD include:

  • fear of contamination
  • fear of not having completed a specific action that could result in harm (e.g., "Did I turn off the oven?")
  • fear of making a mistake
  • fear that something bad could happen if things are in an incorrect order or sequence
  • fear of inappropriate sexual or religious thoughts
  • fear of harming oneself or others

The most common "compulsions" are:

  • excessive cleaning and washing
  • checking and re-checking behaviour or actions
  • ordering and arranging objects
  • hoarding possessions
  • repeating phrases or other mental acts (e.g., checking off lists over and over)

Who gets OCD?
OCD is the fourth most common psychiatric disorder. It happens about equally among men and women, and can symptoms can appear at any age. Boys and girls can develop OCD in their childhood or teens; it has been noted in children as young as 2 or 3 years of age.

What are the causes of OCD?
A combination of genetic, learning and biological factors likely play into a person's individual risk profile for OCD. For one thing, a person is at higher risk if related by blood to someone with OCD. This could be due to biological similarities (lower levels of the brain's chemical messenger serotonin or increased activity in certain regions of the brain) or because of exposure to behaviours you learned from a family member. The controversial theory that children are more prone to OCD after having strep throat has not been proven.

How is OCD diagnosed?
If you're worried that you might have OCD, see your doctor and talk about the symptoms you've experienced. Your doctor will likely perform a thorough examination to rule out other possible causes. According to the American Psychiatric Association's diagnostic reference guide, the DSM-IV, a person with an OCD diagnosis has "recurrent obsessions or compulsions that are severe enough to be time-consuming or cause marked distress or significant impairment."

How can OCD be treated?
Your treatment goal for obsessive-compulsive disorder should be to function better on a daily basis and to reduce your symptoms. A treatment plan for OCD may include cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT), medications, or a combination of therapy and medication.

Exposure and response prevention is a type of behavioural therapy often used to treat OCD. The "exposure" portion of therapy involves a person facing up to the thing they fear or dread - but in a gradual and controlled way so the person's fear response lessens through repeated exposure. In the "response prevention" element of therapy, a person learns new ways to cope with obsessions without resorting to ritualistic behaviours.

While healthy lifestyle habits and social support may not cure OCD, they may help you to manage your symptoms. Learn more about your anxiety treatment options.

 





Advertisement

Did you find what you were looking for on our website? Please let us know.

Hot Topics - Bedwetting, Depression, Flu (Seasonal), Healthy Skin, Incontinence, Multiple Sclerosis, Psoriasis, Stroke Risk Reduction

Condition and disease information is written and reviewed by the MedBroadcast Clinical Team.


The contents of this site are for informational purposes only and are meant to be discussed with your physician or other qualified health care professional before being acted on. Never disregard any advice given to you by your doctor or other qualified health care professional. Always seek the advice of a physician or other licensed health care professional regarding any questions you have about your medical condition(s) and treatment(s). This site is not a substitute for medical advice.
© 1996 - 2014 MediResource Inc. - MediResource reaches millions of Canadians each year.