Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder - Palak Notes

OCD - more of a disorder it is a branded disease which people misuse to show off. Why? Because they think it is a super cleaning and super hygienic disorder. 

Well! Even if you don't enjoy any moment of life, instead your main focus is to organise stuff. Or you have come across such people who will ask you to keep their stuff as kept before. Cannot assure that you are a patient of OCD. Because this can be normal.  

But if these cleaning and hygienic or any other disturbing thought crosses your mind throughout the day 24/7, then this is not normal. This is an obsession!  

This obsession of repeating a particular action is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). It is a mental health condition in which a particular thought strikes a patient’s mind over and over again, which is unfortunately uncontrollable.  

We all know, the brain is our best friend and the worst enemy. Unfortunately, in this case it plays the role of our enemy. It will always keep you conscious the complete day and even at night. It will be responsible for your anxiety when you come across things which are not organised and according to your will.  

OCD is when one cannot control his/her thoughts and take some actions repetitively to get rid of them. For example, washing hands whenever they touch anything or checking the door whether it's closed, etc.    

The alarming situation is when these germs and contamination fear is leading them to isolate from friends and family. This is a moment when a person has become a patient of severe OCD and needs proper treatment from a psychiatrist.  

Signs and Symptoms of OCD  

Obsession and compulsion have different signs. Obsession is your repetitive thoughts, whereas compulsion is your repetitive actions to rest these thoughts.  

Common Obsessions:

  • Fear of contamination or germs : Fear of touching any substance such as a door holder, which is touched by multiple people.
  • Fear of making a mistake : You need reassurance while doing any task to avoid any mistake. 
  • Extreme need for organising things : You get anxious when you see things out of their place. 
  • Fear of embarrassment : You fear getting embarrassed in front of people with your actions. 
  • Fear of hurting someone else or oneself : You are always extra sweet to avoid hurting people or get extra protective from getting hurt.    

Common Compulsions: 

  • Deep cleaning : You clean yourself and your surroundings more than normal times. 
  • Setting things in place : You always tend to keep everything in place and organise them over and over again in a precise way. 
  • Reassuring : You re-check your routine tasks before leaving that place.  
  • Repeating numbers : You count in a specific pattern in your mind.  

Although everybody double checks the things and reassures their actions and gets afraid of making any mistakes. But the OCD patient cannot control these thoughts and actions and perform them excessively. Moreover, he or she is not even happy with the actions he/she is performing and always feels depressed or anxious. [1] 

Causes of OCD 

There is no evident proof on the actual cause of OCD. Still, there are multiple theories on the causes of OCD. 

  • Family History- You can be diagnosed with OCD if you have a close family history of the disorder. Especially, in your close blood relation like parents or siblings.
  • Personal Experience- Our personal and past experience has an important role in our life. Any past trauma of our life can trigger our anxiety or stress, which can eventually raise your OCD symptoms or can cause you an OCD. [2] 
  • Pregnancy or after delivery- OCD can be caused during pregnancy or after delivery. This condition is called perinatal pregnancy. In this, the mother gets thoughts about hurting her baby, sexually abusing the child, fear of making wrong decisions for the child, keeping the baby away from relatives or other people, etc. [3] 
  • Biological factor- We all know, our brain and its chemicals are extremely important for our survival. Even a mild deviation in the amount of these chemicals can lead to mental issues. Similarly, there is a chemical which is named serotonin. Lack of secretion of serotonin can cause OCD in some people.  

    Minimising Symptoms of OCD

    • Try reducing Stress- I’m sure you must have observed that you lose your balance when you get stressed. And unfortunately, when you are an OCD patient, your stress triggers your symptoms maybe to an extreme level. Therefore, it becomes very important for you to keep a check on your trigger points which increases your stress levels. 
    • Practise deep breathing- We all must be familiar with deep breathing exercises. But what exactly is that? It is basically a diaphragmatic breathing, when you fill your lungs with air efficiently. While doing this, you have to focus on your breathing technique. By focusing, you are controlling your breaths and reducing your stress. How? Because deep breaths reduce your stress hormone - cortisol.  

    Most importantly, you have to practise it daily to get the desired results. As we need to train our mind for lowering our cortisol.[4]        

    • Good sleep- OCD patients may face lack and poor sleep. You may even face disturbed sleep due to your disturbing and obsessive thoughts. When you don’t get enough sleep, you are never fully efficient, causing you fatigue, brain fog like symptoms in addition to your OCD symptoms.  

    This also increases the severity of your anxiety and depression caused due to OCD. [5]   

    • Exercise- As you all know, I always promote working out. Because I believe that workout is the perfect balance, which stables you mentally and physically. It is an amazing medicine for your OCD symptoms of anxiety and depression as it gives you happy hormones. At Least in my case, I always get a rush of happy hormones after my workout. 
    • Vitamin B12 Intake- Vitamin B12 and folate is very important for our brain functioning. How? Because folate sustains your daily activity like sleep, memory and exercise and Vitamin B12 breaks down your homocysteine amino acid, which helps in creating proteins in the body. [6] And we all know, proteins help release happy hormones.  

    And as Vitamin B12 is water soluble, it is excreted by the body whenever you urinate. Hence, Vitamin B12 chewables have folate and get absorbed in the mouth only to show results. 

    • Intake of Omega 3 fatty acids- I know being Indians, we are majorly vegetarian. A few non-vegetarians are seafood eaters. Omega 3 fatty acids are easily available in foods like seeds, nuts, fishes- salmon, mackerel and tuna. But when it comes to a disorder like OCD or the severity of symptoms that it has, supplementation is important. [7] This is because it helps in maintaining good communication between brain cells as your brain is made up of 70% of fat.  

    Hence, you need a good supplement which has omega 3 with EPA (Eicosapentaenoic acid) for your effective results in reducing depression. Krill omega is one such supplement which gives you the desired amount of omega 3 with not only EPA but also DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid).  


    [1] https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/obsessive-compulsive-disorder-ocd

    [2] https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/types-of-mental-health-problems/obsessive-compulsive-disorder-ocd/causes-of-ocd/ 

    [3] https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/types-of-mental-health-problems/postnatal-depression-and-perinatal-mental-health/perinatal-ocd/ 

    [4] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5455070/ 

    [5] https://bmcpsychiatry.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12888-021-03038-z

    [6] https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyt.2022.754165/full 

    [7] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2071911/


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