Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder



Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder . A person with OCD has unwanted repetitive thoughts and behaviors.


The cause is of OCD is unknown. OCD may be due to neurobiological, environmental, genetic, and psychological factors. An imbalance of a brain chemical called serotonin may play a major role.
Genetic Material
Chromosome DNA
The genes that you inherit from your family may play a role in the development of OCD.
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

Risk Factors

OCD is more common in late adolescence into early adulthood. Your risk is also higher if you have family members with a history of OCD.


OCD may cause:
  • Obsessions—unwanted, repetitive, and intrusive ideas, impulses, or images; common obsessions include:
    • Persistent fears that harm may come to self or a loved one
    • Unreasonable concern with being contaminated
    • Unreasonable concerns about safety
    • Unacceptable religious, violent, or sexual thoughts
    • Excessive need to do things correctly or perfectly
    • Persistent worries about a tragic event
  • Compulsions—repetitive behaviors or mental acts to reduce the distress associated with obsessions; common compulsions include:
    • Excessive checking of door locks, stoves, water faucets, and light switches
    • Repeatedly making lists, counting, arranging, or aligning things
    • Collecting and hoarding useless objects
    • Repeating routine actions a certain number of times until it feels right
    • Unnecessary rereading and rewriting
    • Mentally repeating phrases
    • Repeatedly washing hands
Conditions associated with OCD include:If you have OCD, you may know that your thoughts and compulsions do not make sense, but you are unable to stop them.

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