Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a mental illness/ condition or disorder where a person has persistent, reoccurring thoughts (obsessions) that are distressing, causing an individual to perform behaviors (compulsions) that he feels the urge for, to repeat again and again. These repetitive excessive thoughts lead to repetitive compulsive behavior interfering with work, social life, and activities of daily living causing distress. Obsessive and Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is characterized by unreasonable thoughts and fears (obsession) that lead to compulsive behaviors.

Individuals may try to stop the obsessive thoughts but doing so only causes more anxiety and distress. To ease this distress or anxiety caused by intrusive thoughts, the individual ultimately feels driven to perform compulsive acts. These thoughts or urges keep returning despite efforts to suppress them and thus results in a vicious cycle of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a common and chronic disorder in which an individual has uncontrollable thoughts. People get diagnosed by the age of 19 years. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a lifelong condition that can’t be cured but treatment can help.

The causes of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) are not known however some factors associated with it are as follows

  1. The Genetics of an individual may have a role in causing the condition
  2. Biology: Changes in Brain Structure and Functions and natural chemistry
  3. Learning from Environment: Compulsive behaviors can be learned from watching family members

There are four types of Obsessive and Compulsive Disorder (OCD) categories:

  1. Checking: checking of locks, switches, electronics, or thinking of some ailment
  2. Contamination: Thoughts of dirty contaminated things to the compulsion of cleaning them
  3. Symmetry and order: the focused idea to keep things in a particular way
  4. Ruminations and intrusive thoughts: Violent and disturbing thoughts and obsession over a particular way of thinking.

People diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) may have symptoms of obsessions, compulsions, or both.

Symptoms of Obsessions are repeated thoughts that cause anxiety. Obsessions symptoms include Difficulty facing uncertainty, unwanted  thoughts, fear of contamination needing washing hands, aggressive thoughts towards self and others, keeping things symmetrical or in order, intense stress when objects are not kept in a certain way, doubts about door locks and electronics switches, avoiding a situation that can trigger obsessions example, shaking hands

Symptoms of Compulsions are repetitive behavior that a person with OCD feels the urge to do in response to an obsessive thought. Compulsive symptoms may include excessive washing and cleaning, keeping things in a particular arrangement, repeatedly checking on electronics and door locks, etc.  

In general, everybody checks on things but an individual with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is not able to control his or her behavior and thoughts even when such thoughts and behaviors are seen as excessive, spends at least 1 hour a day on these thoughts and behavior, doesn’t get pleasure by his/her behavior and experiences significant problems in their daily life because of these thoughts and behaviors. The individual does not perform activities because he/she likes it but because he can’t get rid of it.

Treatment of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) includes Medication, Therapy (Counselling), or a combination of both and Relaxation. The condition can’t be cured but treatment can help control the symptoms.

  1. Medication: Medications are given to reduce or improve or control the symptoms of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
  2. Relaxation: includes meditation, massage, and yoga to help with stress.
  3. Therapy/Counselling: It includes therapies such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Habit Reversal Therapy, Family Focused Therapy (FFT), Psychoeducation, Psychotherapy, Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS), Deep Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (DeepTMS):

 a) Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): It can help change thinking patterns. A type of CBT called Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) can be helpful in Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Here patient faces the triggering situation but after that, he is prevented from taking compulsive behavior.

 b) Habit reversal  Training

 c) Family Focused Therapy (FFT): It includes involving Family members in the treatment program.

 d) Psychoeducation: It involves educating patients about mental health.

 e) Psychotherapy (Talk Therapy): Therapeutic or talk therapy used to treat mental or behavioral disorders. It helps one manage their obsessions and compulsions

 f) Deep Brain Stimulation: Used in cases where the patient is not responding to usual therapies or traditional treatment approaches. Electric impulses are produced which helps regulate abnormal impulses.

  g) Deep Transcranial magnetic stimulation (Deep TMS): it is a non-invasive procedure for stimulating specific areas of the brain. This procedure is used for both diagnosis and treatment purposes.  It uses magnetic fields to stimulate nerve cells in the brain. Treatment involves the application of magnetic waves to particular parts of your brain resulting in the repairing of the nerve cells which leads to the treatment of mental illnesses like OCD, Depression, or any other mental illness. The magnetic pulse is able to reach deeper into the targeted areas of the brain in Deep TMS as compared to TMS. The type of coil used for Deep TMS is able to stimulate wider and deeper regions of the Brain. Helpful in improving symptoms of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Brain Stimulation therapy is used in cases of OCD where a patient does not respond to other or usual therapies/treatment.

As Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is a chronic and life-long condition therefore, adherence to a long-term treatment plan is crucial and can help people manage their symptoms and improve their quality of life