Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

What is OCD?

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a type of anxiety disorder characterized by persistent unwanted or upsetting thoughts or images (obsessions) and/or repetitive behaviors or mental acts (compulsions). The obsessive thoughts or images are associated with anxiety. Performing the behaviors or acts, which are often called rituals, may temporarily avert the obsessive thoughts. Failure to perform the rituals typically leads to increased anxiety.

Body System Affected

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder affects the nervous sytem, but scientists have not yet established the cause of OCD. Many believe it may be a combination of biological and environmental factors. Researchers are investigating the possibility of a genetic susceptibility to the condition. Some evidence suggests OCD may involve abnormal functioning of the brain, perhaps associated with an inadequate level of the neurotransmitter serotonin.

Correct Function of the Body System Affected

The basic functioning of the nervous system depends a lot on tiny cells called neurons. The brain has billions of them, and they have many specialized jobs. For example, sensory neurons take information from the eyes, ears, nose, tongue, and skin to the brain.

Onset and Target Population

OCD is not targeted at a specific race. In the USA, OCD is believed to affect around 2.5 percent of people above the age of 18. The median age of onset is 19. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder most commonly shows up in childhood, adolescence, or early adulthood. There is some evidence to show that OCD may run in families.
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OCD is diagnosed using a psychiatric assessment. OCD is diagnosed only when the person’s obsessions and compulsions cause distress and interfere with their ability to perform regular tasks. Such as going to school, work, or being in a relationship. The diagnosis also requires the person (only if not a child) to recognize that obsessions and compulsions are unreasonable and/or excessive.

Signs and Symptoms

Signs/Symptoms of OCD:

  • Excessive concern with dirt, germs

  • Red chapped hand due to over-washing

  • Avoid touching specific things in fear of contamination

  • Showering, washing, grooming often in a ritualistic appearance

  • Counting and/or repeating things a certain number of times

  • Rewriting numbers until they are just right

  • Having exaggerated fear of harm to yourself or others

  • Excessive fear of doing things wrong or having done things wrong

  • Getting upset if routine is not followed

  • Having things orderly and symmetrical

  • Aggressive thoughts about harming yourself and/or others

  • Doubts you’ve locked the door, turned off the stove, etc.

  • Thoughts about acting inappropriately

OCD & Anxiety Disorders: Crash Course Psychology #29


Treatment can only lessen obsessions and compulsions, not completely eradicate them. One option for treatment is selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI’s). These may reduce OCD symptoms by affecting serotonin levels. Other psychiatric medicines may also be prescribed to help control your condition. Behavioral Therapy is another option that can be used to address the situation. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy is used to treat both thoughts associated with OCD and actions associated with OCD.


The disease itself will not kill, but in some cases it can lead to suicide or another related cause of death. Many people with OCD live a normal life with the help of various treatments.


I personally suffer from OCD. I have exhibited symptoms since around the age of two and continue to do so. My grandmother also may have OCD.


Here is a link to my Diigo:


Works Cited

"OCD & Anxiety Disorders: Crash Course Psychology #29." YouTube. YouTube. Web. 28 Jan. 2016.

Scholten, Amy, MPH. "Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: OCD." Consumer Health Complete. EBSCOhost, 01 Aug. 2015. Web. 28 Jan. 2016.

Staff, Mayo Clinic. "Obsessive-compulsive Disorder (OCD)." Symptoms. Mayo Clinic, 09 Aug. 2013. Web. 13 Jan. 2016.