Obsession and Compulsion: Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Obsessive thoughts that I cannot get away with create anxiety and emotional pains

Leads to obsessive behaviors to desperately get over the emotional suffering

close up photo of paint color

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) includes two characteristics: the first half consists of unwanted obsessions and recurrent thoughts, images, or impulses that cause significant distress, while the latter half consists of compulsions and repetitive behaviors or thoughts that you feel compelled to perform to get rid of the obsessions and feelings of distress. It is estimated that 2-3% of the general population suffers from OCD and it affects people of different race, gender, and socioeconomic status. 


The early-onset of OCD typically occurs during early adolescence, while the late-onset of the disorder commonly occurs in the early 20s. In most cases, the symptoms develop gradually. OCD that develops before adolescence frequently manifests with symptoms of Tic. Implementation of effective treatment can significantly improve quality of life among individuals with OCD; however, many suffer for years before seeking treatment as they find it difficult to share their symptoms with a professional.


Both biological and environmental factors play a part in developing OCD. There is a 10% chance that a relative of someone with OCD may be suffering from the same disorder and if both parents have the disorder, there is an average 20% chance that the child will also have OCD. However, environmental factors such as life events and stress should not be neglected as they also play a significant part in developing OCD and worsening existing symptoms.


In today’s modern world, high expectations for achievement and success may often reinforce behaviors of maladaptive perfectionism. However, OCD is only diagnosable when such pursuit of perfectionism interferes with everyday functioning.


The following are common obsessions in OCD:


– Fear of contamination (e.g., body fluids, germs, etc.) that leads to repetitive hand washing

– Unwanted thoughts and images (e.g., concerns about blasphemy or morality, forbidden or perverse sexual thoughts, etc.) that cause feelings of anxiety or disgust

– Fear of intentionally or unintentionally harming others that leads to repetitive checking behaviors (e.g., checking doors are locked or that nothing was dropped on the ground that might cause someone to slip)

– Concerns about symmetry or exactness (e.g., an extreme feeling that something bad may happen if the number of objects in a place is uneven, an urge to walk with the same amount of pressure on each foot, etc.)


Please contact us if you are currently experiencing any of the symptoms above.

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