Obsessive compulsive disorder is also known as OCD. If you have OCD, you may have thoughts that go through your head over and over. Other times, OCD causes you to feel like you need to do certain rituals or routines over and over.
The upsetting thoughts that get in the way of your normal life are called obsessions. They cause you to feel tense or on edge. The behaviors or things you do to try and control the thoughts are called compulsions. Some people are obsessed with germs and think about them all the time. Because of this, they feel like they must wash their hands over and over. Others may be obsessed with protecting their loved ones.
They believe that by doing things in a certain order or touching things in a certain order, their loved ones will be safe. There are many kinds of obsessive thoughts and rituals that people do to try and cope with the thoughts.
Doctors do not know exactly what causes OCD. You are more likely to have it if a family member also has OCD. Stress or a traumatic event can make this condition more likely to happen. Brain injury, like from a stroke, or a chemical imbalance in the brain can be a cause.
The doctor will do an exam and take your history. The doctor will also ask questions about your signs. Be sure to talk with your doctor about how the signs are affecting your life each day.
Your doctor may send you to a mental health expert, like a psychologist or psychiatrist. You may work on learning how to deal with the thoughts that are causing you stress. You may also work on how to lower your anxiety and deal with any other problems you are having. Support groups may help you deal with your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Most often, as you work with your doctors, you will have improvement in your signs. They may not go away fully.
The doctor may order drugs to:
If your OCD is not treated, it can result in:
This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your healthcare provider. This is only a brief summary of general information. It does NOT include all information about conditions, illnesses, injuries, tests, procedures, treatments, therapies, discharge instructions or lifestyle choices that may apply to you. You must talk with your health care provider for complete information about your health and treatment options. This information should not be used to decide whether or not to accept your health care provider’s advice, instructions or recommendations. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to provide advice that is right for you.
You must talk with your health care provider for complete information about your health and treatment options. This information should not be used to decide whether or not to accept your health care provider’s advice, instructions or recommendations. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to provide advice that is right for you.
All topics are updated as new evidence becomes available and our peer review process is complete.
This content is intended for informational purposes only. It should not replace professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you think you have a medical emergency, call 911 or your doctor immediately.