symptoms of OCD

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a mental health condition characterized by intrusive thoughts and repetitive behaviors that can significantly impact an individual’s daily life. Recognizing the signs of OCD is crucial in seeking appropriate support and intervention.

At PBCB we offer Psycodynamic Relational Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Holistic Therapy, Behavioral Therapy, Trauma-Focused and others. If you or your loved one are seeking help with life changing challenges call us or Book a Consultation

What is OCD?

OCD is a mental health disorder marked by persistent, unwanted thoughts (obsessions) and repetitive behaviors or mental acts (compulsions). These obsessions and compulsions can consume a person’s thoughts and time, causing distress and interfering with daily functioning.

Who does OCD affect?

OCD can affect anyone. The average age of onset is 19 years. About 50% of people with OCD begin to have symptoms in childhood and adolescence.

It’s rare for someone to develop OCD after the age of 40.

Importance of Recognizing Signs Early

Identifying signs of OCD early on is vital for timely intervention and management. Many individuals may dismiss these signs as habits or quirks, unaware that they signify a potentially serious mental health condition.

How common is obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)?

Obsessive-compulsive disorder is relatively common. It affects 1.6% to 2.3% of the general U.S. population.

Common Signs and Symptoms of OCD

Obsessions and Compulsions Explained

Obsessions are intrusive thoughts, urges, or mental images that recur persistently, causing distress. Compulsions are repetitive behaviors or mental acts that an individual feels driven to perform in response to an obsession or to reduce anxiety.

Intrusive Thoughts and Anxiety

People with OCD often experience intense anxiety due to their intrusive thoughts, leading to the performance of compulsions as a way to alleviate the distress caused by these thoughts.

Examples of Obsessions and Compulsions

Common obsessions include fear of contamination, doubts about safety, and a need for symmetry. Corresponding compulsions may involve excessive handwashing, checking, or arranging items in a particular order.

What causes OCD?

Researchers don’t know what exactly causes OCD. But they think several factors contribute to its development, including:

  • Genetics: Studies show that people who have a first-degree relative (biological parent or sibling) with OCD are at a higher risk for developing the condition. The risk increases if the relative developed OCD as a child or teen.
  • Brain changes: Imaging studies have shown differences in the frontal cortex and subcortical structures of the brain in people who have OCD. OCD is also associated with other neurological conditions that affect similar areas of your brain, including Parkinson’s diseaseTourette’s syndrome and epilepsy.
  • PANDAS syndrome: PANDAS is short for “pediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorders associated with streptococcal infections.” It describes a group of conditions that can affect children who have had strep infections, such as strep throat or scarlet fever. OCD is one of these conditions.
  • Childhood trauma: Some studies show an association between childhood trauma, such as abuse or neglect, and the development of OCD.

Impact of OCD on Daily Life

Interference with Daily Activities

OCD can significantly disrupt daily routines, work, relationships, and social activities. The time-consuming nature of rituals and the distress caused by obsessions can impede a person’s ability to function normally.

Effects on Mental Health and Well-being

Living with OCD can lead to increased stress, depression, and decreased quality of life. The constant battle against intrusive thoughts and compulsions can be mentally exhausting.

Diagnosing OCD

Criteria for Diagnosis

Diagnosis of OCD involves meeting specific criteria outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). A mental health professional assesses the presence and impact of obsessions and compulsions on an individual’s life.

Importance of Seeking Professional Help

It’s crucial to consult a mental health professional if signs of OCD are noticed. Early diagnosis and intervention can lead to effective management and improved quality of life.

Treatment Options for OCD

Therapy: Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

CBT, particularly Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP), is a commonly used therapy for OCD. It helps individuals confront fears and reduce compulsive behaviors.

Medications and Other Interventions

In some cases, medications such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) may be prescribed along with therapy to manage symptoms.

Coping Strategies for OCD

Self-Help Techniques

Learning relaxation techniques, mindfulness, and stress-reducing activities can assist in managing OCD symptoms.

Building Support Networks

Having a strong support system comprising understanding friends, family, or support groups can be beneficial for individuals with OCD.

Understanding the Challenges of Living with OCD

Stigma Surrounding Mental Health

There’s still stigma and misunderstanding surrounding mental health conditions like OCD, which can make seeking help difficult for individuals.

Support and Advocacy Efforts

Efforts are ongoing to increase awareness, support, and advocacy for individuals living with OCD, aiming to reduce stigma and improve access to resources.


Recognizing the signs of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder is crucial for early intervention and effective management. Seeking professional help, utilizing various treatment options, and adopting coping strategies can significantly improve the quality of life for individuals living with OCD.

At PBCB we offer Psycodynamic Relational Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Holistic Therapy, Behavioral Therapy, Trauma-Focused and others. If you or your loved one are seeking help with life changing challenges call us or Book a Consultation