Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is broken up in two ways: Obsessions and Compulsions

Obsessions: persistent ideas, thoughts, impulses, or images that are experienced as intrusive and inappropriate and that cause marked anxiety or distress. The individual realizes that the thoughts are not within his or her own control, and not the kind of thought that he or she would expect to have. However, the individual is able to recognize that the obsessions are the product of his or her own mind and are not imposed from without. (American Psychiatric Association)

Compulsions: Repetitive behaviors or mental acts the goal of which is to prevent or reduce anxiety or distress, not to provide pleasure or gratification. In most cases, the person feels driven to perform the compulsion to reduce the distress that accompanies an obsession or to prevent some dreaded event or situation. (
American Psychiatric Association)

OCD can become extremely time consuming and life disabling, as a lot of people diagnosed will spend hours giving in to their compulsions. Or believe their obsessions so much, that they are to terrified to do anything.

The most common obsessions may be:Fear of contamination from germs or dirt
Having things orderly and symmetrical
Agressive Impulses
Sexual Images and/or thoughts

OCD Symptoms may include:
Fear of being contaminated by shaking hands or by touching objects others have touched
Anxiety over the door not being locked, or stove was not shut off
Thoughts you've hurt someone in a traffic accident
Intense distress when objects are not orderly or facing the right way
Images of hurting your child
Impulses to shout obscenities in inappropriate situations
Avoidance of situations that can trigger obsessions
Skin lesions due to picking at the skin
Hair loss or bald spots because of hair pulling


Most causes of disorders are looked at in a multi-dimensional model, meaning that there is usually more than one cause to why the disorder is occurring. Doctors look at psychological, social, and biological factors that may contribute.
Psychological can consist of behavioural and cognitive theories which look at the way you were raised, your surroundings, obstacles and challenges you may be facing, if there was an event that started this all off or just your general thoughts upon things.
Biological really looks at the brain, how it is functioning... if there is any problems going on as in a chemical imbalance, or if the problem can be related back to genetics. The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health really outline all the causes in more detail with great examples.

Like most disorders, there are two main ways of treated OCD. But the most successful way is to use both of them together. These two options are Medications and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. The most common medication used are anti-depressants because they work on the serotonin system. The Cognitive Behavioural Therapy uses techniques that involve exposure and response prevention .

If you believe you may have obsessive compulsive disorder, speak with your family doctor for an assessment, and a referral to a psychiatrist/psychologist or to a specialized anxiety clinic.

This here is an 8 minute documentary on a guy who deals with OCD on a day-to-day basis, and he goes into detail about the struggles that he has to face, how it affects him as a person and his whole entire lifestyle.

OCD can occur with other disorders

It is not uncommon for OCD to occur with other emotional disorders, this may include depression,
panic disorder, social phobia, and many others.

How common is OCD?

OCD is not as common as other anxiety disorders but a recent study showed that
about 1 in 100 people suffer from OCD.

Here is a great test from the Health Centre that asks appropriate questions to see if
you have the symptoms of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Here is a great website that provides great information and connections to people with OCD and their families. They also have self help groups that one can attend for support.
Click Here for their website.

ReferencesAmerican Psychiatric Association (2010). Tools and Links: Criteria for Agoraphobia. doi: 10.1176/appi.books.9780890423349.3082 Retreived from DSM-IV-TR database June 11, 2010.

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The NCHW does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. The health information contained herein is provided for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace discussions with a health practitioner. Only a qualified medical professional or healthcare practitioner can diagnose and/or treat anxiety, panic attacks, social anxiety, generalized anxiety disorder, ADD / ADHD, Social Anxiety Disorder, Depression and other disorders or diseases..

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Youtube:, London, Ontario, Canada. Produced by Michael Woods.

Centre for Addictions and Mental Health. (2009). Retrieved from

OCD Ontario :