The Basic Understanding of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Here is all that a common man needs to know about the much talked about mental illness, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder which is famously known by its abbreviation, OCD.

The Basic Understanding of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

So, you must have heard a lot about people having OCD issues. As a matter of fact, there are over 2.2 million Americans who have this mental disorder. If you have watched the movies The Aviator and Matchstick Men, you may be slightly familiar with what a person with an obsessive-compulsive disorder does.

Surely, there are many questions that need answering, many doubts that need to be cleared about this particular mental disorder. Why does it happen? When does it happen? How do patients suffering with OCD behave? Why do they behave in such a manner?

To begin with, lets first establish what Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder is. OCD is a rather common disorder. It may be effective for a brief period or may be long lasting. A person suffering with OCD obsesses over a particular, recurring thought, which may as well be disturbing them constantly (Obsessive), because of this specific recurring thought/s the patient feels an urge to rectify the matter that is disturbing them, as if its a compulsion for them to fix it in order to get rid of those thoughts (compulsive).

People with OCD can either have both or one of the two disorders, obsession and compulsion.


Some with an obsession disorder, usually has recurring thoughts, a mental image of something that disturbs them or an urge to repeatedly do something. Some of these thoughts make the suffers highly anxious.

  • Fear of germs and an uncleaned environment

  • Recurring thoughts of suicide, murder or other socially tabooed thoughts sometimes related to religion or sex, that disturb the patient.

  • Fear of safety

  • Obsession with perfection and symmetrical patterns

  • Feeling a constant doubt and the need to be reassured


While a patient with obsession is particularly suffering with a recurring thought or an urge to do something. Those with the compulsive disorder act on the recurring thoughts and repeat the same actions a multiple times.

  • Constantly cleaning themselves and the environment around them

  • Repeatedly checking locks

  • Constantly counting, tapping, touching a particular object or an area and rubbing something

  • Constantly arranging things or a specific thing

  • Keeping things in order and well organised at all times

The aforementioned are some of the common symptoms noted in those who suffer with OCD.

This disorder usually happens at a young age, childhood, teenage years or while the person is a developing young adult. While doctors previously, believed that OCD was caused by lack of neurotransmitter serotonin, neurone in the brain cells responsible for sending messages to the body and vice-versa, was the reason for OCD. However, as the studies advance, doctors  and scientists now believe that OCD is caused by a hindrance in the pathways of the human brain that link and interconnect the area of the brain which is responsible for thoughts, judgment and planning with the area which is responsible for filtering body movements.

There are medications and therapies such as behaviour therapy and pharmacotherapy which can be used as treatment for OCD. Although, some cases of OCD might be as minimal as they go unnoticed, those who go through severe OCD issues tend to develop other mental disorders such as depression and anxiety.