What Causes OCD?

what causes ocd cause obsessive compulsive disorder

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a mental condition that presents with unwanted thoughts or obsessions and compulsions, which refer to repetitive behaviours which can interfere with a healthy life. These symptoms may also cause distress to the affected person, especially when they try to stop the symptoms. OCD has a vicious cycle in which when you try to ignore the symptoms, you get distressed. 

To avoid getting distressed, you perform the compulsive behaviours, but the unwanted thoughts keep coming back. The good news is that OCD can be treated using San Pedro psychotherapy, medications, lifestyle modification and learning to cope with your condition, and joining a support group. Seeking treatment shows that you are strong despite the stigma that is associated with mental health. 

What Are The Symptoms Of OCD? 

The condition presents with both compulsive and obsessive symptoms, but some people experience either compulsive symptoms only or obsessive symptoms only. The obsessive symptoms are unwanted urges that can be intrusive and make you distressed. You experience these obsessive thoughts when you are trying to concentrate and do other things. 

The obsessive thoughts come in themes which include wanting everything to be orderly, fearing contamination by dirt or germs, aggression towards some subjects like religion and sexuality and being unable to tolerate uncertainty. The person tries to avoid the triggers of the condition. An example of obsessive thought doubts whether you have locked the door. 

The compulsive symptoms are repetitive tendencies that you feel that you must perform to try and stop the distress that is caused by the obsessive thoughts. The repetitive behaviours are to prevent you from doing bad things, but these compulsions only provide temporary relief of the symptoms. 

These compulsions can take you from rituals to try and beat the distress, but in most times they are out of proportion compared to what they are fixing. The repetitive behaviours have these themes; checking, counting, cleaning, following strict routines, extreme orderliness and always demanding reassurance. 

Examples of compulsive behaviours include excess handwashing and checking the cooker repeatedly to confirm that you have turned it off. The severity of these symptoms varies at different times, and they mostly begin in teen years progressing gradually to adulthood. Sometimes complications may occur like difficulties staying in a relationship, contact dermatitis due to excessive hand washing, time wastage in repeating things, difficulty attending school or work, suicidal thoughts and reduced quality of life. 

What Causes OCD? 

The exact cause of OCD is unknown, but some risk factors increase the risk of OCD. These risk factors include genetics where you are more likely to develop OCD if you have a family member who has the condition. Having other mental disorders, like anxiety and depression, also increases the risk of OCD. 

A change in the number of chemicals that control your brain function also causes OCD. A person can learn the obsessive and compulsive behaviours from other people. Stressful events are also thought to trigger OCD because they trigger intrusive thoughts. 


OCD is a mental disorder that is characterized by obsessive thoughts like fear of contamination and orderliness in which a person responds with compulsive behaviours like repeated cleaning to try and stop the distress caused by the unwanted thoughts. The exact cause of OCD is unknown, but there are risk factors like genetics and stressful events that trigger OCD.

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