Getting to Know OCD: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

OCD – Childhood should be filled with sweet and happy memories with parents and friends. But in fact, not all children are lucky and can feel an abundance of love from their parents. Some children actually have to accept and deal with the divorce of their parents at a very young age.

Don’t think that young children don’t understand anything. In fact, this very bad event can cause deep trauma that he can remember into adulthood. As a result, children can grow up with a high risk of experiencing various kinds of psychological disorders. One of them is obsessive compulsive disorder, also known as OCD. Check out how childhood trauma can trigger OCD here.

Obsessive–compulsive disorder is the fourth most common mental disorder after phobias, substance abuse disorders and major depressive disorders. Most patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder come to several doctors before they go to a psychiatrist and generally receive 9 years of therapy, only then do they get the correct diagnosis. This shows that doctors other than psychiatrists are important to get the correct diagnosis.

The prevalence of obsessive–compulsive disorder in the general population is 2 -3%. In one third of obsessive–compulsive patients, the onset of the disorder is around age 20, in men around 19 years and in women around 22 years. The same comparison is found in adult men and women, however, male adolescents are more easily affected than female adolescents.

Obsessive-compulsive disorder is related to certain areas of the brain. Research on these disorders is expected to be able to find abnormalities earlier as well as observe the development of therapy. Thus the results of a study from the University of Cambridge, England. As reported by the journal Science, brain imaging is useful for diagnosing the disorder. In patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder, it shows that the orbitofrontal cortex in people with obsessive-compulsive disorder does not work properly.

A total of 14 people with this disorder became respondents. A total of 12 of their relatives also underwent tests. Brain imaging measures activity in the lateral orbitofrontal cortex. The part that should be the center of decision making is not completely activated. Meanwhile, brain activity in people without the disorder appears normal.

Many studies support the hypothesis that serotonin dysregulation influences the formation of obsessive–compulsive disorder symptoms, but serotonin as a cause of obsessive compulsive disorder is still unclear. Genetics is also thought to have an influence on the occurrence of obsessive-compulsive disorder where significant differences were found between monozygotic and dizygotic twins.

Definition of OCD

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a type of mental disorder. People with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder have uncontrollable and recurring thoughts and urges (obsessions), as well as compulsive (compulsive) behaviors. An example of a compulsive behavior is washing your hands 7 times after touching something that might be dirty. These thoughts and actions are beyond the control of the sufferer. Although the sufferer may not want to think or do this, he is powerless to stop it. In other words, OCD can significantly affect the lives of sufferers.

OCD Risk Factors

Risk factors for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder include heredity, brain structure and function (still unclear), and living environment. However, the thing that has the most influence is the living environment that does not support the psychic development of the sufferer as a child, that is, when children are often ridiculed or ridiculed because of their imperfections. This can lead to a mutual feeling of wanting to do the perfect thing.


Causes of OCD

OCD is a common disorder that affects adults, adolescents, and children worldwide. Most people are diagnosed by age 19, usually earlier in boys than girls. The exact cause of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder is not known. However, several of the above factors influence the occurrence of this disorder.

Other causes and risk factors for OCD, namely:

In addition to life experience, heredity is also the biggest trigger for OCD psychological disorders. Having a parent or sibling with OCD can put a person at high risk of experiencing the same disorder. OCD is thought to occur because there are certain genes passed down by parents that affect a person’s brain development. However, what types of genes have an effect on causing OCD are still being studied until now.

Another risk factor that may also influence the emergence of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder is a person’s personality. People who are neat, conscientious, perfectionists, and have high discipline are at greater risk of experiencing OCD.

OCD symptoms

People with OCD have symptoms of obsessions, compulsions, or both. These symptoms can interfere with all aspects of life, such as work, school, and personal relationships. Obsessions are recurring thoughts, urges, or mental images that cause anxiety.

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Meanwhile, compulsions are repetitive behaviors that a person with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder feels the urge to do in response to obsessive thoughts. Common compulsions include excessive cleaning and/or hand washing, ordering, and organizing things in a special and appropriate way. People with it can also repeatedly check various things, such as checking repeatedly to see if the door is locked or the oven is off.

Symptoms may come and go, subside over time, or get worse. People with OCD can prevent symptoms from appearing by avoiding situations that could trigger their obsessions, or perhaps using alcohol or drugs to sooth themselves. Although most adults with OCD recognize that what they are doing is unreasonable, some adults and most children may not realize that their behavior is out of the ordinary. Parents or teachers usually recognize the symptoms of OCD in children.

Here are examples of obsessions that people with OCD can experience:

  • Fear of being dirty, for example anti-touching things that have been touched by other people or refusing to shake hands.
  • Paying close attention to order and symmetrical layout, for example arranging clothes based on color gradations.
  • Excessive feeling of fear, so that the sufferer can repeatedly ensure that the door of the house is locked.
  • The emergence of unwanted thoughts, usually related to aggressive attitudes, sexuality, beliefs, and religion. For example, a sufferer can suddenly swear for no apparent reason.

The following are some of the symptoms that are common in people with OCD:

1. Obsessive Thoughts

Obsessive is a thought disorder that occurs repeatedly and causes anxiety. These obsessive thoughts can appear suddenly when sufferers are thinking or doing something.

Obsessive symptoms experienced by people with OCD can include:

  • Anxious or afraid of contracting a disease so avoid shaking hands or touching objects.
  • Stress when you see a collection of objects that are not aligned or symmetrical.
  • Fear of doing something that is dangerous to oneself or others, for example doubting whether to turn off the stove or lock the door.
  • Fear of saying something that might offend others.
  • Worried about throwing away items that have been collected

2. Compulsive Behavior

Compulsive is a behavior that is done repeatedly to reduce anxiety or fear due to obsessive thoughts. People with OCD will feel relieved shortly after engaging in a compulsive behavior. However, obsessive symptoms can reappear and make people with OCD repeat compulsive behaviors.

Symptoms of compulsive behavior include:

  • Bathing or washing hands repeatedly until blisters.
  • Arrange objects facing the same direction or by type.
  • Checking repeatedly whether it has turned off the stove or locked the door.
  • Repeat certain words or sentences silently so you don’t say them wrong.
  • Collecting or hoarding items, such as unused letters or newspapers.

In general, the symptoms of OCD in children and adults are not much different. However, the symptoms of OCD in children are sometimes less obvious. Therefore, parents need to be vigilant if their children show the following symptoms:

  • Often change clothes because they are considered dirty.
  • Puts his things in one part of the house and will be offended if they are moved.
  • Tend to only use one particular toilet when in public.
  • Excessive use of hand soap, body wash, or toilet paper.
  • Avoids socializing with peers and does not enjoy sharing his or her possessions.

OCD Types

The following are types of sufferers of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder or OCD, including:

1. The Checkers

The checkers type identifies that people with OCD are people who always check or examine something. They are obsessed with always checking what they are doing. For example when he closes the door, he will do the same thing repeatedly to make sure that he has closed the door.

2. Washers and cleaners

Washers and cleaners are people with OCD who are obsessed with cleanliness. They have a fear of something dirty and do not want to be contaminated with germs. People with OCD with this type always pay too much attention to cleanliness and feel that their surroundings are always dirty and rarely want to touch other people because they think other people contain lots of germs.

3. Orderers

Orderers are people who focus on something to get it in the right place. People with this type of OCD will be very depressed when they see or are around objects that are untidy or don’t match their color. Some examples of people with this type of OCD are that they often feel nauseous or angry when they are eating mixed vegetables, they will indirectly separate carrots from carrots, rice from rice and other side dishes from the same type of side dish.

4. Obsessionals

People with obsessional type OCD have obsessive and intrusive thoughts that make them do things that must be precise, appropriate and perfect. For example, a person with this disease may believe in things such as not going to sit in a red chair due to certain myths or having to always wear white because he cannot see himself wearing any other color. Some people who suffer from this type always pay attention to the details of every thing they do, for example, they have to enter the house using their right foot, wash their hair 7 times to make sure their hair is clean.

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5. Hoarders

Hoarders are people who like to collect things that are not important and worthless.


OCD diagnosis

Steps to help diagnose OCD include a physical exam. This may be done to help rule out other problems that could be causing the symptoms and to check for associated complications. Next, laboratory tests are performed including a complete blood count (CBC), thyroid function tests, and screening for alcohol and drugs. Psychological evaluation, including discussing thoughts, feelings, symptoms, and behavior patterns. Diagnostic criteria for OCD are in the Diagnostics and Statistics of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), published by the American Psychiatric Association .


OCD treatment

Unfortunately, OCD cannot be cured. However, sufferers can relieve symptoms that interfere with their activities by undergoing several treatments. Treatment for OCD consists of medication, psychotherapy, or a combination of the two. Although most people with OCD get better after getting treatment, some people with OCD continue to experience symptoms.

Sometimes people with OCD are also found to have other mental disorders, such as anxiety, depression, and body dysmorphic disorder (a disorder in which a person mistakenly believes that part of their body is not normal). It is important to consider these other disorders when making treatment options.

SRIs and SSRIs are two types of medications used to help reduce OCD symptoms. In addition, some other medications that have also been shown to be effective in treating OCD in both adults and children are tricyclic antidepressant drugs, which are members of the older class of ” tricyclic ” antidepressants, and some of the newer SSRI drugs. If symptoms don’t improve with these types of drugs, research shows some patients may respond well to antipsychotic medications.

Apart from drugs, psychotherapy is also effective in treating OCD in adults and children. Research shows that certain types of psychotherapy, including cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and other related therapies (eg, habit-reversal training) can be as effective as medication for many individuals.

Research has also shown that a type of CBT called Exposure and Response Prevention (EX/RP) is effective in reducing compulsive behaviors in OCD, even in people who don’t respond well to SRI medications. For many sufferers, EX/RP is an additional treatment option when SRI or SSRI medications are not effective at treating OCD symptoms.

OCD treatment aims to control the symptoms that appear, so the method used depends on the severity of the symptoms. Treatment methods for OCD sufferers can be in the form of cognitive behavioral therapy, administration of antidepressant drugs, or a combination of the two methods. In some patients, treatment is necessary for life.

Apart from medication, psychotherapy is also effective for treating OCD in both adults and children. Evidence has shown in some cases that certain types of psychotherapy, including cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and other related therapies (eg, habit-reversal training) can be as effective as medication for many individuals. In some cases it has also been shown that a type of CBT called Exposure and Response Prevention (EX/RP) is effective in reducing compulsive behavior in OCD.

OCD prevention

There is no sure way to prevent obsessive-compulsive disorder. However, getting treatment as soon as possible can help prevent OCD from worsening and interfering with the person’s daily activities and routine.

How do OCD children socialize with their surroundings?

Basically, excessive anxiety makes children always do what is believed to make them calmer. If not stopped immediately, this makes it difficult for him to socialize because he is too worried about the condition of the environment around him. Then, how do OCD children socialize?

Of course with the assistance of parents. The role and support of parents is an important factor in overcoming OCD disorders in children. Every time your little one wants to do the same thing over and over, mom or dad can help explain to him that what he’s worried about isn’t actually happening. For example, a child is too worried that his hands are still dirty, so he returns to washing them again and again. Well, mom or dad can tell him that his hands are actually clean of germs and dirt after he first washed them.

When to See a Doctor?

If you experience this disorder and it impacts your daily activities and causes difficulties, you should immediately contact your doctor to get further treatment.


  • WebMD . Retrieved May 2022. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).
  • Mayo Clinic . Retrieved May 2022. Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).