Obsessive-compulsive disorder is characterized by OBSESSIONS (thoughts that constantly repeat in your head) and COMPULSIONS (routines or so-called ‘rituals’ that you feel compelled to enact). 


You may feel unable to control these thoughts and/or activities for a long period of time.


APPOTEK can help with obsessive-compulsive disorder.


Obsessive-compulsive disorder or OCD consists of persistent, unpleasant thoughts or “obsessions” that create anxiety and often lead to ritual actions or “compulsions” that need to be enacted in a certain way, over and over.


Some common OBSESSIONS:


  • anxiety or fear of dirt and contamination
  • frightening thoughts about yourself or others
  • wanting everything to be in precise order and symmetry 
  • believing your thoughts can harm others and your compulsive actions can save them


Some common COMPULSIVE behaviors:


  • washing hands constantly  
  • needing to keep things fanatically in order
  • checking things over and over, even if you know you have already done them
  • collecting or hoarding things, unable to throw even unnecessary items away
  • inability to stop repeating certain words or phrases, or counting things


It is not clear what causes obsessive-compulsive disorder, but hereditary as well biological and psychological factors play a role. 


Signs of OCD usually become apparent in childhood or early adulthood. It is rare for obsessive-compulsive disorder to start in adulthood. When children and young people have OCD, they have a need to think or act in a certain way. If they do not follow those routines or rituals, it triggers anxiety and they believe something terrible will happen. If you think your child has an obsessive-compulsive disorder, you should seek medical help. 


Diagnosis of OCD is given when obsessive-compulsive disorders occupy at least one hour every day and negatively impact your life.

Prevention and protection

The key is to learn to stop obsessive thoughts and reduce compulsions, as these cause the obsessions and anxiety to return. 


Talking through the problem with a friend/family or therapist can help ease the anxiety. You can also:


  • try to avoid stress
  • exercise regularly (physical activity helps with anxiety)
  • make sure to get enough sleep


OCD is usually treated by Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) as well as some psychiatric medications, alone or in combination.


CBT is a talking therapy that can help you manage your problems by changing the way you think and behave. 


‘Exposure and response prevention’ is the main CBT technique used to treat OCD. Exposure means that you need to face certain situations that trigger your obsessive thoughts without resorting to your compulsions (this is the response prevention). You then have to learn to deal with the anxiety caused by not performing your compulsions. If it feels too difficult at first, you can gradually reduce your compulsive actions. In some cases, therapy may be supplemented with antidepressant drugs, based on individual physician assessment.

When to consult a doctor

Many people experience certain obsessive or compulsive symptoms from time to time. But if your symptoms become regular, frustrate you, take a lot of time or affect your everyday life and relationships, you should consult a doctor.

How APPOTEK can help

  • Consulting
  • Psychological treatment
  • Individual assessment and prescriptions if needed.

Valeria Chernikova, Neurologist, M.D.