Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Jockey Club eGPS Psychological Support Project 

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a common mental disorder. Around one in every fifty people will experience obsessive compulsive disorder at some point in their lives. There are three main components of OCD: obsession (intrusive, unwanted thoughts), compulsion (responses that fight the unwanted obsessions), and the accompanying anxiety. Common types of OCD include: 

  • Checking

  • Contamination

  • Intrusive thoughts

The psychology and medical field believe OCD is caused by an interaction between biological, psychological and environmental factors. Biological factors include chemical imbalance in the brain and family inheritance; Psychological factors include faulty cognition; Environmental factors include stress (work, financial, interpersonal relationship). 

Behavior

 

Repetitive Behavior: Such as repeatedly check the door locks and gas stoves to ensure safety, repeatedly wash their hands in fear of contamination, repeatedly seek reassurance from others

Avoidance: Avoid using certain objects or avoid going to certain places to keep the associated anxiety away 

Physical Sensations

Tiredness, shortness of breath, sweating, headache, stomachache, hands shaking, tensed muscles 

Thoughts

 

Uncontrollable thoughts, such as worry about personal hygiene, worry about harming others,  intrusive violent or obscene images that do not reflect one's character, have the feelings that some objects have to place in a certain order or in a certain way

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On the cognitive level, people with OCD will have obsessive thoughts. These thoughts bring along anxiety and physical sensations that leads to compulsion to neutralize these uncomfortable feelings and sensations. In the long run, the thoughts, physical sensations and behaviours will form a vicious cycle and lead to greater distress . 

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