Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

by Janna Lim|28-01-2022
Mental Condition

What is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a chronic disorder that includes obsessions, compulsions or both.

 It is more than fear of germs or arranging items. Rather, it causes severe distress and interferes with work and relationships.

Signs and Symptoms


Obsessions are intrusive, persistent and uncontrollable thoughts, or urges. People with OCD are aware these thoughts are excessive, and cannot be settled by logic. They cannot ignore these anxiety provoking obsessions with other thoughts or actions. Common symptoms include:

  • Contamination
  • Aggressive thoughts towards self or others
  • Unwanted Sexual Thoughts
  • Religious
  • Symmetry


Compulsions are repetitive behaviours that are performed in relation to the obsession. People with OCD do not get pleasure from these behaviours, but these behaviours reduce distress of feared situations. Common symptoms include:

  • Cleaning
  • Counting
  • Touching
  • Checking

Risk Factors


  • Having family members with OCD increases likelihood of getting OCD
  • Abnormal sizes in certain brain areas


  • Childhood trauma
  • Reinforcement that accompanies the behaviour performed to reduce distress



Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors help to manage the symptoms of OCD. It may take 8-12 weeks for the medications to start working.

Exposure Therapy

People with OCD expose themselves to the trigger compulsions without performing the compulsive ritual. Exposure tasks are arranged hierarchically, with treatment commencing with the least anxiety-provoking situation, progressing up the hierarchy. With prolonged and repeated exposure, anxiety level decreases. These people then realise that they can manage their symptoms even with anxiety.

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Janna Lim

Therapist Specialist

Janna was our in-house blog writer and therapy specialist. She has supported The Therapy Platform users towards successful therapy experience. She is about to complete Master of Counselling.


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