What causes OCD?

by cadabamshospital

31 July,2020 | 6 months read

We all know someone who has the obsessive habit of double-checking everything from your house keys, to the lights, or whether the stove is off. Sometimes it’s just treated as a quirk but in some cases, these behaviours can become extremely disruptive to normal functioning. In such a scenario it may be diagnosed as Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD).

In the early days, OCD was considered an anxiety disorder since 'Anxiety' was a common symptom in many individuals resulting due to obsessive thoughts. To counterfeit the impact of anxiety, they often engage in extensive ritual ceremonies too.

In an OCD related episode, your brain gets stuck around a particular thought and you keep repeating your actions several of times examples include – checking up your fan/geyser/stove multiple times to ensure it’s switched off as you’re afraid to burn down your house or keep washing your hands again and again in the fear of germs.

All these actions make no sense to others but to the sufferers, it seems the only way to minimize the anxiety caused by these obsessive thoughts.

What Causes OCD?

There are multiple reasons for OCD that vary from person to person. Some of the most common causes of OCD are listed below:

  • Autoimmune Causes: A rare form of OCD dubbed the “PANDAS” (Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Association with Streptococcal infections) is often caused due to an infection of the same bacteria that causes strep throat & scarlet cancer. The body’s immune system gets confused and starts attacking basal ganglia (a particular brain area) that results in OCD.
  • Behavioral Causes: If you know someone who suffers from OCD, you will notice that they often associate particular objects/circumstances with fear and start avoiding them as much as possible. The fear is closely seen in cases when they’re experiencing intense stress, or have just ended a bad relationship. Avoiding the object seems more feasible to them rather than confronting the fear.
  • Imbalance in Brain Structure: Imbalance in the chemical serotonin in the brain may be contributing to the development of OCD. Also, certain chromosome or gene deviation possibly doubles the probability of developing OCD in an individual.

Causes of OCD

  • Family History: Another cause of OCD could be genetic and heredity factor. One considered is inheriting the disorder from somebody on the family line. Research and studies carried out among teenagers in India showed that around 30% turned out to have immediate families affected with OCD. Also children with parents suffering from OCD are prone to having it by around 8% chances. However, the possibility of OCD to be genetically inherited is still not conclusive.
  • Reinforcement: Negative reinforcement can lead to Obsessive compulsive disorder making compulsive patterns stable. Individuals indulge in compulsive activities because these activities reduce their mental anxieties.

OCD symptoms & Treatment

  • Environmental Causes of OCD: According to the research, if you or someone in your vicinity have undergone TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury), their chances of suffering from OCD are higher. Even environmental stressors of either of the 4 types (cataclysmic, stressful life events, daily troubles, and ambient stressors) are known to trigger OCD in an individual. These are some of the prominent environmental causes of OCD.
    Social factors along with a combination of stressful life events like illness, abuse, death of a loved one, closure to a bad relationship, and other traumatic life events are additional factors that can contribute to the development of OCD.

What Causes OCD to get Worse?

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) can get worse in case you neglect your symptoms. The negligence can aggravate your symptoms, impact your lifestyle, hamper your social skills, and lead to isolation. In severe cases, it can also lead to suicidal thoughts and depression.  

Treatment for OCD: What are the options?

The treatment for OCD depends on the symptoms you showcase and their severity. However, one of  the proven  best treatments for OCD is therapy.

Using psychotherapy techniques like CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy), medical practitioners can easily modify your thinking patterns. Using exposure and response prevention, the doctors/therapists can help you minimize OCD effects and stop the repetitive/obsessive thoughts.

Apart than psychotherapy, other treatment options that can help you with the treatment of OCD include - relaxation (includes yoga, meditation, and massage sessions), medication (includes a dosage of psychiatric drugs like citalopram, fluoxetine, etc.) and neuromodulation (includes therapy using devices that change the electrical activity in certain areas of your brain) putting a stop to repetitive thoughts.

After having understood the major factors of what causes OCD, what triggers OCD, and how does OCD develop within an individual, it won’t be wrong to conclude that – causes of OCD vary so greatly that there isn't just one thing that is going to make it go away forever. Nevertheless, with treatment the condition can be effectively managed so that the patient can live a fulfilling life.  

To learn more about Obsessive-compulsive disorder treatment, call us @ +91 9741476476.