Why Do Some People Develop Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder?

Sarah Mellors's picture

As the child of a man whose acute Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder is the dominant force in his life, and consequently, having grown up in a very unnatural, controlled environment, when deciding on a top for this paper, I dared to delve into the enigmatic world of mental illness. I thought writing on this disorder would be both interesting and would help unlock the secret behind my father’s abnormal behavior. It would also help me understand why, up until now, I have exhibited only mild symptoms of this condition, and if the disorder is in fact hereditary, what this means for me in the future. In order to answer these questions, an in depth examination of the disease is needed.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is one of many anxiety disorders, mental conditions that result in chronic fear and uncertainty in the victims’ minds. Anxiety disorders plague 40 million American adults, while OCD alone affects 2.2 million Americans (1). If anxiety disorders are left untreated, which they often are, symptoms can become increasingly worse. People with OCD experience persistent upsetting thoughts or worries (obsessions) and use rituals or repetitive behaviors (compulsions) to relieve their anxiety (2). OCD patients often experience repeated thoughts and images where they feel out of control and may even worry that they have harmed another person (3). Depending on the person’s fears, OCD can manifest itself in different ways. The most common symptom is an obsession with germs or dirt that results in repeated hand washing. Paranoia about intruders can lead to locking and relocking of doors and windows. Other common signs include repeatedly checking things, counting things, doing things in a particular order, or hoarding and refusing to dispose of old possessions. However, a person with OCD doesn’t necessarily have to partake in any of these rituals. In the most extreme cases of OCD, victims are unable to attend to their responsibilities and perform the tasks of daily life because they are so preoccupied with their rituals. What makes OCD so unique is that, according to studies, people with the disorder do not get pleasure out of doing these rituals; they carry out these actions to placate their anxiety (3).

It’s interesting for me to read what all the medical journals and online sources say about OCD because I can imagine my father performing the described rituals in my head as I read. However, his case is one of the extreme ones that is more difficult for doctors to understand. For example, my father follows a very strict regime everyday, doing everything in the same exact order; any interference with his daily routine will send him into a state of shock. If a person interrupts him while he’s going through his routine, he becomes very angry, agitated, and uncomfortable. He prefers to be alone as much as possible and lives on an isolated farm, where he has minimal contact with other people. OCD and clinical depression often go hand-in-hand, so it is likely that my father’s antisocial behavior is partly due to depression. My father, interestingly, does not exhibit many of the typical symptoms of OCD, such as frequent bathing and hand washing, or a need to constantly count things in a certain order. However, he does hoard possessions and hasn’t thrown out anything in about 30 years. It is easy to see how OCD can be misdiagnosed since many of its symptoms are characteristic of other mental illnesses; it’s taken me my entire life to figure out what exactly makes my father behave the way he does.

How can someone with OCD be treated? According to the Obsessive Compulsive Foundation, OCD is “underdiagnosed” and “undertreated” because many doctors are unfamiliar with the symptoms of the illness (3). No laboratory test exists for this disorder . Moreover, people with OCD often have trouble admitting that they have extreme anxiety or are unaware that their behavior is abnormal (3). However, if someone is diagnosed with OCD, several different methods of treatment can be implemented. The first is Cognitive-Behavioral Psychotherapy through the use of a technique called Exposure and Ritual Prevention, where individuals gradually overcome their fears and learn that they do not need to perform certain rituals. The second method of treatment involves taking selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) along with tricyclic antidepressants. Studies show that OCD is usually the result of communication problems between the orbital cortex and the basal ganglia, two parts of the brain that rely on the chemical messenger serotonin to transmit signals. With the help of SSRIs, the serotonin is able to bind to the neurons’ receptors so it can help regulate excess anxiety and obsessive thoughts. Studies show that, “SSRIs seem to be the most effective drug treatments for OCD, and help about 60% of OCD patients, but do not ‘cure’ OCD” (2). In other words, medications that increase one’s serotonin levels can address the symptoms of OCD, but can’t make the disorder go away. Although the use of SSRIs or Cognitive-Behavioral Psychotherapy seems to be an effective treatment for OCD, from doing research on this topic, it is clear to me that much about the disease is still unknown.

Why do some people develop this disease and not others? Is it genetic? Does the disease run in families? In my case, I wonder: Why did my dad develop this condition and not me? Will I acquire OCD in the future? Up until recently no specific genes for OCD had been identified, but scientists were looking for a link between genetics and OCD (3). However, two recent studies on the association between genes and OCD have illuminated a possible cause of the disease: a glutamate transporter gene called SLC1A1. This gene encodes a protein called EAAC1, which controls the flow of glutamate in and out of brain cells. According to an article in HealthDay News, “Variation in the SLC1A1 gene may cause changes in the flow of glutamate, which may put a person at increased risk of developing OCD” (4). The identification of the SLC1A1 gene marks a milestone in the search for the cause of OCD. If the close relationship between this gene and OCD is confirmed, dramatic improvements in the understanding and treatment of OCD can be made (4). With regard to the heredity of OCD, research shows that OCD does tend to run in families, though family members often times develop different symptoms from the disease (3). According to the HealthDay News article, “Close relatives of people with OCD are up to nine times more likely than other people to develop OCD” (4). Clearly, heredity plays an important role in the development of OCD. In my case, the fact that such a close relative of mine has OCD greatly increases my chances of getting it. Because symptoms can emerge at any time between age 3 and 40, I still have more than twenty years in which I am likely to develop the disorder (3).

Researching and writing this paper has helped elucidate a lot for me about Obsessive-Compulsive disorder. However, it has also made it apparent that much more research about this disease needs to be done before a foolproof method of prevention and treatment can be obtained. As of right now, scientists have only made ripples in the vast, dark ocean of mental illness, and nothing has been confirmed about the cause of OCD. I hope, for my own sake and for the sake of the millions of Americans who either have OCD or will be afflicted with it in the future, that the isolation of the SLC1A1 gene for OCD will lead to great strides in the study and treatment of this disorder.

World Wide Web Sources

1) http://www.nimh.nih.gov/healthinformation/ocdmenu.cfm The National Institute of Mental Health’s website with a special section on OCD

2) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Obsessive-compulsive_disorder A Wikipedia Encyclopedia article, “Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.”

3) http://www.ocfoundation.org/ The Obsessive-Compulsive Foundation website with a discussion of OCD

4) http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/new/fullstory_36909.html A HealthDay News article entitled, “Genetic Findings Shed Light on OCD.”



Serendip Visitor's picture


Hi, I am a female of 22 years old.Three years ago I discovered that I have OCD. I'm much better than before, but right now I'm experiencing something that hurts like a knife. I don't know how to deal with it. Last year a guy broke up with me and since then my life has returned to chaos. I know is difficult to move on from your first love, but my case is extreme. He has become an obsessive thought. His face is always in my mind, I can't stop imagining him with other girls...and every time this happens I get panic attacks. His name, his face, anything reminds me of him. Days ago I saw him at my college talent show with a girl. I lost it. He tried to say hello, but I escaped. Could not deal with his presence. I saw him and now the thoughts are harder than ever. His 24/7 inside my mind. It makes it so much harder to move on. I want him to dissapear from my life and I can't do it.Tips anyone to deal with heartbreak when you have OCD? I've tried writing my thoughts, since I'm a writer, but is not enough. I cannot sleep, I start crying spontaneously, I feel BLUE everytime.

Serendip Visitor's picture

Ever since late 2010 I've had

Ever since late 2010 I've had these very bothersome thoughts that convince me that I like a band that I don't like. The thoughts convince me that the band is the best one and the only one worth listening to. Because of this, I'm not able to listen to the music I used to listen to in peace or any music for that matter. In the beginning, I was listening to this band with no bothersome thoughts but when I began comparing it to the other music I used to listen to, I kept getting this uncomfortable feeling and I didn't know what it was. The thoughts became so strong that I gave in and accepted liking them even though it gave me such a terrible feeling. I've seen therapists and doctors for this over the years and I've been told that it could have to do with OCD but I'm still unsure. I've been following my late therapist's advice and just listening to the music I want to listen to and letting the thoughts come, but I still want to know..... What are these thoughts? Do they mean anything? If they don't mean anything, how do I know that they don't mean anything? If these thoughts really mean something, I will live with it and accept them no matter how uncomfortable they are. Thank you.

Serendip Visitor's picture

I think I need help

I keep having horrifying and disturbing thoughts that I know don't belong to me as I find them disgusting and wrong. The problem is, I can't stop them and they're driving me insane. I constantly feel like I'm not good enough and have been diagnosed with PTSD before by a counsellor. I have since stopped seeing the counsellor and my mother refused to have me treated for anxiety. I don't know what to do. I'm a 16 year old Australian girl and I'm so frightened and alone. I can't go to my parents for anything as they think I'm attention seeking. I'm so disgusted with myself for thinking these horrible thoughts but i just CANT make them stop. I want to go see a doctor but I need to do it without my parents knowing about it. Can somebody please help I don't know what to do, I've thought of ending my life before but I feel guilty. I've been in a relationship bordering on two years and I'm constantly paranoid that he could do better and that he looks at other girls and it makes me feel like absolute shit. I strongly believe that I need help to be able to function properly. Please help.

Serendip Visitor's picture


I was wondering why the Dr diagnosed you with PTSD? What was the trauma? Also, I am the mother of 5 children... It makes me sad to think you can't talk to your parents... Parents are the ones you should be able to trust with anything you have to say...How about an Aunt or Grandparent? Someone you feel safe with..You can't just wish away bad thoughts... Maybe try being around positive people watch comedies...Find a good Christian to talk with...

French ex OCD :)'s picture

Don't worry !


As a ex OCD (currently at work so... i will be short), troubles can desapear but you should be carefull not transfer the trouble into somewhere else (I had OCD troubles : cleaning, counting, fearing things, obsessive thoughts... which one day desapear but was replaced by : excessive jalousy, masochisme...). So the goal is to make them desapear.

I invite you to read a lot abt it. OCD can be a strenght if you handle it ! Be a resilient :)

So few rules :
- Don't fear your fears and thoughts.
- Take distance with them (did you act ? no.. so.. is it bad to think making love to a old guy if you didn't do it ?)
- You have a fucking powerful imagination, that's the problem as well (with no imagination : no thoughts)
- Talk to somebody (psy, pro, doctor, friend) who don't judge you (and won't)
- Be helped (some neurotrasmittor helps such as zoloft and cognitive therapy )
- Stop blaming yourself ! You are different, and hopeffully most of OCD never act bad by purpose.
- find what you thrive for (concentrate on a passion cause OCD tend not to concentrate, have low self esteem) :p
- Fight yourself (if you have rituals... : i fight mines a lot. I fear vomit and flight. I have fight them because I stop acting strangely when taking plane, and I force myself thanks to my lover, to not fear people vomiting.. lol stupido now i am thinking of it).

Just read that :

Most people have intrusive or uninvited thoughts similar to those reported by people with OCD. For example, parents under stress from caring for an infant may have an intrusive thought of harming the infant. Most people would be able to shrug off such a thought. Individuals prone to developing OCD, however, might exaggerate the importance of the thought, and respond as though it represents an actual threat. They may think, "I must be a danger to children if I have thoughts of harming children." This can cause a high level of anxiety and other negative emotions, such as shame, guilt and disgust.

The problem occurs with people with a too high sensitivity, perception. So : fucking develop this in something useful !

And except death or being a psychopath for others, there is ALWAYS a solution to fight OCD, that's hard, long, take time, thought, fights, but .... i like this sentence : I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul from William Ernest Henley.

Good luck ! :)

parris's picture

real talk....

Thanks you man for sharing your thoughts and fight with OCD. I'm going to take that and apply it to my life, and hope and pray that God see me through my fight... God bless you.

Serendip Visitor's picture

Down Under you're most likely suffering from OCD

From what you've described, you're possibly experiencing OCD. I can only hope that your parents can understand and recognize that you need professional help, mainly an OCD specialist who is trained in CBT ERP therapy. I'm speaking this from experience, I'm a parent whose child about your age suffers from OCD. When we first came to know about her symptoms, there was nobody who could explain us what our child was suffering from, but with lot of research, we successfully have begun her treatment. Talk to your parent do not delay talking to them, as this will only get worse if it's not treated.

Your parents must recognize that you need professional help now rather than later. If they want to talk to me they can email me. Please refer to the following link there is great deal of info that will be helpful for your parents.


God Bless and I hope you get the right treatment soon.

mark's picture

obsessional thoughts

My name is mark and ive bring having obsessional thoughts since ive bein in my early twenties and the most difficult one to deal with is the thought that everyone thinks im gay im now thirty and Its worse than ever ive even doubted my pwn sexuality over This but it doesnt add up as ive never felt any attraction towards men and have always bring attracted to girls no matter what i do i cant seen to get This thought out of my head and i feel like ending my life bcus of it i have become so paranoid about ppł talking about me and feel so anxious any time something comes up about gays or even things that rhyms with it i completley panic Its taking over my life n wish i Could be normal has anyone else felt like This bfore

Serendip Visitor's picture

Reply to obsessional thoughts

Seek out treatment right away. Find an OCD treatment center or therapist that specializes in OCD. They will teach you cognitive behavioral therapy and determine if you need medication. Keep looking for the right treatment. If money is an issue, see if the OCD center or therapist can work with your budget. Some therapists are covered by insurance. I went to an OCD treatment center and it helped greatly. Wish you all the best.

Serendip Visitor's picture

It is the OCD that is making

It is the OCD that is making you anxious and obsessive over specific thoughts. Seek out treatment right away. Find an OCD treatment center or therapist that specializes in OCD. They will work with you to teach you cognitive behavioral therapy and determine if you need medication or not. Keep looking to find the help you need. If money is an issue there are centers and therapists that work with your budget. Some can be covered by insurance. I have OCD and went to an OCD treatment center. It has greatly helped me. Wish you all the best.

Serendip Visitor's picture

Mark you have to calm down.

Mark you have to calm down. No one except yourself defines your sexuality. If you are attracted to girls then you ARE ATTRACTED TO GIRLS! If that makes you happy then you don't have to justify yourself to anyone. Your brain is in hyperactive anxiety mode so it will make you feel bad about so many illogical things that are not worth worrying over. It's NOT your fault at all that you feel all this anxiety. It's the chemicals in your brain. I've been in the same situation in the past and also had thoughts of suicide over recurring obsessive thoughts "invading" my brain, making me panic and worrying me but when I started to talk about my fears and feelings to others I put things back into perspective. I also went to a GP who suggested certain pills that would calm me down and I went to get them immediately and I am not stressed out anymore. Another thingg... I learned that people are so influenced by superficial things that what they see on the surface directs their judgement to a great degree. maybe you don't have facial hair, maybe your not a bulky guy, maybe you are a graceful person... Bam people assume you're gay. I saw it happen to a close friend of mine for years. He is happily married to a woman now. You can do small things to "masculinise" your appearance if you want or you can rise above the nonsense of other people and be confident with who you are on the inside. Keep your head up Mark. We all have stresses and problems and anxieties to deal with. We all feel lonely ans scared and worried sometimes. But for some people the level of anxiety they have to deal with is higher because of the brain chemicals and you shouldn't have to deal with that. Be strong, you're not alone.

Serendip Visitor's picture

Friend w/ocd

I am trying to understand the conditions of ocd. I work at a school system as a custodian, and became friends with one of the teachers there. I have known her for 3 years and she is a very goal oriented person. She tutors after school and works on weekends at a restaurant. Just recently she joked about being ocd because she was being evaluated on her teaching in which the school does once a year. She was very concerned about how her class room looked and it was very neat and perfect. My whole point is about her personality, are they usually oblivious to things or is she just self centered? Because I find it strange in that one day she will say hi and have a conversation and the next nothing as if I am a stranger it's quite bizarre and exhausting to be honest with you. So I have decided to keep it simple and just say hi.

Serendip Visitor's picture

She sounds like she suffers

She sounds like she suffers from some kind of anxiety issue, whether it's OCD or not is difficult to tell. However when someone's anxiety levels are very high their focus becomes all about what they are worried about and they don't pay attention to other things. Maybe that's why she is "on" one minute and friendly and normal and another moment she is unaware of you. I never take these things personally. All people have their personal issues regardless of OCD or anxiety or anything and It's not about you. Rise above it but continue being a pleasant positive person.

Serendip Visitor's picture

Boyfriend is Pure O

Hi All,

I'm new to this forum but reading through these comments has helped so much. My boyfriend of 10 years has OCD - pure O is actually what he's been diagnosed with. Over the years, we've been through his cycles of doubt that seems to focus on relationships (one being his brother) but never to the extent it is right now. So much that his obsessions have turned to focusing on me and our relationship. He constantly worries if he loves me, that it doesn't feel right, that he not normal, thinks that I can do better, that he's broken and cannot be "all in". But as we start to work through these thoughts he doesn't know what his life would be without me, that it doesn't feel right not being in this relationship etc. His anxiety is the highest I've ever seen it and it's impacting our relationship. Work has been stressful as well which I feel is contributing. But also that we are at a point of true commitment or walking away (both of us are in our 30s). He's been on scripts previously but never stayed on because that would mean he has a "serious" problem.
What do I do? My hearts breaks to watch the anxiety and endless circles his thoughts take him. But at the same time, I have very difficult time deciphering what are his true feelings from those OCD thoughts. I love this man and truly do not know what to do.

Serendip Visitor -62 yrs. old's picture

pue O boyfriend

To the person with a pure O boyfriend feb 6, wondering what to do. My ex-wife has ocd with pur-O but also rocd, (relationship ocd). It wasn't until after studying rocd that I felt I understood this type of behaviour. Unless the spouse knows the exact nature of the obsessional thoughts, the communication between two people will not be successful. Although it is really not important what the obsession is, unless both people know that the other knows what it is, no matter how disgusting or shameful the thought is, there will be a barrier to communication. It is difficult for them to feel love when they are experiencing paranoia. The paranoia is reduced if they know that you know what the thought is. The shame of it can't go away without forgiveness. You can't offer forgiveness and he can't receive it unless you both know what is being forgiven. So if you want a chance of a loving relationship, he has to tell you exactly what he is thinking and when. The truth will not hurt you if you understand no one is to blame. Be strong and compassionate, know that no emotional abuse is acceptable, and pray for wisdom, and guidance if you don't already.

kayleex6's picture


I have always had obsessive thoughts and worrie aways worried about ofending someone and explaning and rexplaning even though they the person would keep sayin its ok. Thats just one exampel. After having two childern in 19 months is when germs came in to play. Washing my bathroom 3x a day hand washing not touching public things ie door handles elevator buttons. I ways would tell my self "you know these thing wont kill you or the likely ness slim to none" I could not eat out then I started not being able to eat I was washing fruit with sope and thinkin how is it manufactured. I lost alot of wait. I got help. My home can now be untidy its been 15 years. I still do my locking my door geting in bed no matter how many times I tell my slef I locked it I have to check. I want to know if thses things are also OCD. When helpin move friends I kept thinkin over and over I smelled like sweat. Even though I would ask and say I thought i smelled then I could focus on moving for 30 min or so I would keep thinkin agin about the sweat smell. I would keep trying to tell myself its ok u already talked about it. Over and over I would have to say sorry agin this kept happening I must of talked about it 16x in the 5 hour move. Now that I write it I realize it must have been more than every 30 min. After a social event I will lay in bed thikin of everything I said over and over worrie and checking if I could have buged or offended someone. So much so that I cant sleep or even focus on reading a book. my mind keeps going back to it. At work if somthing is not done right (well my right any way) I try so hard not to write a note about it. I try to talk my self out of it and hours pass I write the note and I then am telling myself put it in my purse no need to complain its trivial but I cant I have to put it under the door to the office. Are thses things OCD. I not clean now i think about gums but dot obess thought I was better till the note writing as become an issue of cource. Should I seek help again. Are these things also OCD

Serendip Visitor's picture

You are suffering

You are suffering unnecessarily. Your anxiety levels should NOT be that high. It's not fair on you nor on the people you love around you. If you don't have a therapist already, ask your GP to refer you to one. This is not your fault and you don't need to live like this. There are certain medications that will calm down your fears and anxieties and put things into the right perspective for you. God be with you and don't worry there's a solution to everything.

Serendip Visitor's picture

"Learned" OCD may not be hereditary, but from close proximity

Spoiler Alert - long comment about hoarding

I've been with my husband for 20 years, living together almost that long. About a year and a half ago, I was helping someone I knew get a diagnosis for Dissociative Identity Disorder (popularly called Multiple Personality Disorder). In the many hours of research I did to figure this out, I had to intensively research other disorders, too because so many times a person with a serious disorder present parts of other disorders, too and they are intertwined in the research phase.

A year later, after a huge event happened in my marriage that came out of nowhere and hurt us both tremendously, I began to realize that I believed my husband has Borderline Personality Disorder. As the layers got peeled back; we talked, brought up memories, behavior patterns, consistent, long time problems that never seemed to be resolved how hard we tried - and we began to believe he also has a hoarding disorder and is ADD/ADHD. In some ways, all of this brought on a feeling of release and understanding. Things were still terrible, but it made more sense to know these were patterns he was stuck in like being in a hamster wheel. No wonder none of the normal things worked, so we began to talk about treatment, whether self treatment and understanding or professional help. He ended up declining all professional help; occasionally he would do a little reading on his own but never got with a program of regulated self help which is what he had promised to do.

As I began to study more and consider options, I kind of joked that "Well if you have to have THREE disorders, at least hoarding seemed pretty benign." The ADD is frustrating, and precludes having healthy communication exchanges (he doesn't pay attention, forgets, and mis-remembers on a regular basis, so it's not all that benign and can do a lot of damage in a long term, intimate relationship.) There is nothing benign at all about BPD - it can be terribly damaging for all involved.

Long story, but I realized after some months that the hoarding was not benign. It had caused me to live in a manner in which I never want to live again, cost me hundreds of hours packing up his stuff neatly to take to storage to keep it from choking us out of our home, and caused many fights when I would ask him if I could sell something he wasn't using, put it away, have him make a decision, etc. I thought he was just an out of control pack rat, but it was very stressful and damaging.

On to my point (finally!), when he accepted the idea of all these disorders and promised again to work on them all, he said he would at least be able to soften or dissolve the hoarding problem since it was ruining the order, cleanliness and aesthetic of our home environment (not to mention the fight, after fight, after fight about "stuff"). We examined his parents habits, and he believed he "picked up" hoarding from his Dad and it could just be dumped now that he knew it.

Well, not only has he not been able to let go of the hoarding disorder, but still promised I could organize and find homes for this (useless to us) junk and maybe that would desensitize him. I've been working on this for months now, and what I find is that I also feel a bit like a hoarder myself. Not in keeping or collecting stuff, but that I can't even get rid of his old stuff without doubting myself. I was in a purging mood after all this melee, and found I'm having difficulty now getting rid of MY old stuff! I have examined these feelings, struggles and confusion a lot. I now believe that his hoarding has been affecting me due to the close proximity. I no longer believe now that it's necessarily hereditary, but can affect those who you share not one gene with. When I'm questioning myself and feel confused, I almost feel like it's someone else in control of my mind. I guess that's what a disorder feels like.

Sorry for the long story; I just know this might reach someone like me who feels like they are going crazy and doing things that are not inherent to their basic nature, view of the world, normal coping mechanisms, and processing of difficult situations. It's a foreign feeling to me, and I despise the feeling and the confusion. I am leaving for a few months to figure it out. I know I will miss my guy, but I feel a huge relief in just getting away from his pervasive, damaging, merry-go-round habits and behaviour and look forward to reconnecting with myself. Our marriage is over of course, but we have much shared time, experience and love and would like to remain true friends for a very long time if not forever.

The last thing I want is for more of his disordered behaviour to "rub off on me" and I feel often that it has. I have to get out, and away.

Serendip Visitor's picture

Hi Everyone.

So far my son has been doing great, after he begged us not to take him to the hospital, and we asked that he give us a promised note that he will not break up the house again. The doctor did changed his drug from Prozac to fluvoxamine, I gave him for the first time on Saturday night, half hour after he took the drug, he was in his room, about to go brush his teeth for the night before he goes to bed, he called out to me and said, he will come over to my room and give me a hug before he go brush his teeth. I waited for some minutes, he didn't come, I was not hearing any voices or sound in his room. I got worried and went over to his room to check on him, I found him lying on his be in a cross position, just like when someone just fell and fainted, but his feet was on the bed. I stand there looking at him to make sure he was breathing, he was, then I bring a blanket and cover him. My son got knocked out with the fluvoxamine in half hour after taking it, he did not wake up until 7:30 in the morning to brush his teeth, and even after he was up, he was very dizzy. Ever since my son started on medication for his OCD, my husband did not approve of it, he keep telling my son that drugs like this will damage him, and now after seeing what the fluvox did to him, i myself is convince that drugs can damage our son's health. So I too started warning him, and within a day my son made the decision not to take any drugs again for his OCD. So I hope that he can able to manage all the rituals he is doing, that are keeping him up late at night, and missing school most of the days. It is so wonderful to have our son in his normal self again, but hard to watch him involved so much in his rituals.

Serendip Visitor's picture

You have described anxiety is

You have described anxiety is a disease in your blog which I feel is offensive and the wrong word! Can I ask why you have chosen to call it that?

Serendip Visitor's picture

I have trouble keeping friends

I feel that i suffer from OCD. I have so many negative thoughts every sindle second that i cant concentrate. this affects me in my daily studies. I cannot crack entranceexams because these exams require speed. Speed does not come even with practice. Because everytime my mind is occupied with something else. iam so devastated because i am unable to have a normal life like others. I feel depressed all the time. None of my friends understands this. They think i am dumb. People who dont have mental disorders never try n understand others problem. I have diificulty keeping friends. Nobody wants to befriend me. I feel i have become socially unacceptable. Because whenever i am with my friends, i get anxious and i get disoriented a lot and confused easily and then they make fun of me. They fail to realise my condition and avoid me. When they ask me certain doubts, even if i know it , i am unable to explain to my friends in a proper manner. They think that i dont want to help. but that is never the case. Also, when i sit to explain certain things to my friend, they never listen to me. They will only talk to me when they want to talk. And suddenly they prop questions which i am unable to tell them. For me, i feel worse when with people but when i am alone i feel more confident and intelligent. When i do things alone, i am at my best. I can study well, i can think well , i dont get anxious at all. but when i get into professional life, i cant be doing all things on my own. I will need to interact with people.
Even my family members does not talk to me. They dont listen to me at all. They have never helped me out with a situation.They tslk snd i listen. Nobody is ever in my conversation. Its everytime i have to put a zip on my mouth.When i am saying something, they never answer back. I am not talking to anyone since last 6 months but only to myself. I am in a room with my pc and internet. Now tell my what i have written here , does it sound like a mental illness, If so ,what kind of an illness is this? plz help.

Serendip Visitor's picture

re: i have trouble keeping friends

oh my gosh!! I can so relate to you! Please please please see a professional psychologist! i have suffered the same way since childhood and am now 47! I got to where you are hiding from the world, because everyone seemed so dangerous to my psyche and self esteem. You are right, alot of people dont try to understand mental illness. BUT there are alot of people who will love and accept you the way you are. I found out how important it is to have supportive people in my life. the right church, or support group would be a great start.
they are the people who are trying to be kind to people. the right ssri has helped my panic. i am working on the right adhd med now. I am doing cbt thereapy with my psychologist. I am learning to accept myself. luckily i had prayed to meet a man with a great sense of humor and God sent one to me. We laugh when I get disoriented, or say mixed up things. he really makes me feel accepted and safe. I am going to learn what to say to those type of people that make fun of me, and sometimes I have said something. Now I have found some friends who laugh along with me at my foibles. I am a recovered alcoholic so I have support from some special people in AA. Even there, though, I am cautious who I associate with, because I need supportive people, not judgemental people, which can be a part of any group. Good luck and you are in my prayers! Make that appointment!!

Bala's picture

Since i have OCD, I can help you.

Hi, Iam from INDIA. I have OCD early from my childhood now iam 24. I started knowing this two years back. But one positive thing of me is that i never thought OCD is an disease, illness, disorder or blah blah. The biggest letdown is that when you know you are suffering from OCD. when recollected all my childhood i had every OCD i have read about. Example i has eating disorder, writing disorder, walking disorder, reading disorer, talking disorder, i split often... all these things are observed in my childhood and itslowly vanished. until you think its bigger you can never get out of it. Still i have some disorders like computer operating disorder(am a software engineer by profession), while watching movie in my laptop i go back and front. pressing refresh more times etc. Finding a solution by our own will makes more comfort. Lets talk about your case. You think that all your friends dont talk to you. Try to get rid of this first. Crack jokes with them, talk some thing interesting, Throw parties, Support them if needed, Play with them, dont get angry.. etc .. When all goes fine you will be normal.... NEVER EVER THINK YOU HAVE A DISEASE.. GOOD LUCK FOR YOU... sorry if my post was not clear b'coz i have this writing disorder also.. :-) :-).. ALWAYS SMILE>> LIFE IS SHORT >> ENJOY EVERY BIT

Sunita's picture


Hi Everyone, my 13 year old son has been diagnose with OCD this last summer. He is on Prosac 30mg and Resperidone. We have notice that he has become very aggressive, angry, hitting and breaking the doors e.t.c. He swears at my, and calls me all kinds of names and even treatened verball all the time kill his brother, when they get into argument, in which he is acusing him for blowing into his face or spiting on him. I was wondering if any of you with OCD experiencing this yourself or from love ones? I am beginning to thik he has OCD and something else but need to get that checked out. He used to be such a loving and caring and happy boy. He still is most of the time, but when he becomes anxious that is what happens. Please give me some advice if you have any? Thanks.

Cindy's picture

Have you checked out

Have you checked out PANS/PANDAS? It is misunderstood/undiagnosed by doctors....their first reaction can be psychiatric drugs. Please look it up...my 4 year old nephew has it. Great supportive sites on Facebook, too.

Serendip Visitor's picture

Hi Cindy

Thanks Cindy! I will look into that!

Serendip Visitor's picture

Was he aggressive before the

Was he aggressive before the prosac? I would say if its not side effects from the prosac. It's a temperament thing especially at that age. I can tell you from my experience (28) y.o. now and have had OCD since about the age of 10. I was more sensitive in all of my senses, Maybe not everyone is this way but in my case I always had a quick temper. Lets face it no one wants someone to blow and spit into their face but I would be the first to react in rage if I were in the same position, while someone with out a quick temper would just get verbally mad eventually calm down I would keep going until I tired myself out.

Definitely get it checked out by someone who is more qualified/licensed but don't let them force drugs at such a young age (our youth are over drugged). OCD is typically treated with therapy. In my case I slowly learned the coping mechanisms required to combat its negative effects on me. While I still am not totally cured I can still live a functional life.

Also finding ways to vent like a punching bag or something to distract him while hes in that mode of thinking will be a life saver.

I hope for the best to you and your son, Good luck. :)

Serendip Visitor's picture


Thanks for taking the time to reply to my comment. My son has always been a loving , and kind hearted boy, he still is, but since his OCD has gotten severe, he has become aggressive and angry. We found out he got OCD when it has already became severe, this last August when he turned 13. Before he was put on the Prozac, and we didn't know about the severity of his OCD, he would go into this really angry and aggressive state, even wanted to committed suicide. This is when I took him into the emergency, they kept him in the psychiatric ward, and gave him Prozac for the first time. So Yes, he was aggressive and angry before the Prozac, but it has gotten worse.
Only two days ago, he was so angry that he put two holes into the walls. His dad and I sat him down after he was calm down and told him we are going to take him to a mental Institute soon. The Institute is about 3 hours from our City. So he knows we will not be able to see him often. He apologized to us and begged us not to take him there , and promise to never break up the house again. We have a big tree in the back yard, his dad told him he can go punch the tree if he is angry. So my husband got him to write us a promise Note. And stated in the note that it was his last chance we are giving him. So we will see how that goes.
Also my husband does not believe in drugs also, but my son does not want to go to the Therapist. because he does not want to talk about his OCD. This Friday the doctor is changing the Prozac to another drug. We want to give him the benefit of the doubt, because he wants to try new drug, so if this new drug does not work, then he will have no choice but to work harder to over come his rituals or go back to the therapist.

Serendip Visitor's picture

I am the sister of someone with extreme OCD

Imy sister began showing signs of OCD at age 12. She is now 32 and each year her OCD seems to get worse. She is moody, gets angry easily and depressed. I love her and want her to be able to live a normal life...one she isn't able to live now. She has seen over 20 different doctors, has been in brain studies and has gone to treatment centers all over the US. That being said she has show no improvement. She has been on and off Prozac since she was 12. I just want my lobbing happy sister back. Anyone know of any success stories with overcoming OCD?

Serendip Visitor's picture


Hi. I'm sorry to hear that your sister hasn't been able to find an effective treatment. Has she tried cognitive behavioral therapy? My psychologist used that treatment and I felt better. That worked for me and honestly I am living a much freer life and rarely have to contend with my OCD like I used to. Cognitive behavioral therapy helps you not feel anxious when thinking about or encountering your triggers by essentially numbing you to them. You are encouraged to think about worst case scenarious ( or mildly scary/mediumly scary scenarios) until your anxiety subsides. After all a person can not stay at top level anxiety forever and once your anxiety lessens while thinking of a scary scenario or thought you have formed a more positive, less scary association with that thought. It can take a few weeks to a few months though. It differs from person to person and level of anxiety. Hope this can help! Best of luck!

Serendip Visitor's picture


I feel very sorry for your sister. My boy not only gets angry, but he breaks things in our house and make holes in the walls and doors.
The doctor is changing his Prozac on Friday to a different drug. So presently we are weaning him off the Prozac. Did she try any other drugs? We do not know if it is the OCD causing him all this anger for him to actually break up things, he recently broke his DS3 into to halves, after quarreling with his brother. We will see how this new drug works. Did you sister going to a Therapist? My boy does not want to go, because he does not want to talk about his OCD, he is doing lots more rituals now, we can live with his OCD and symptoms, and rituals, and even his anger, but the braking up of things we don't know what to do about that any more. Does any one have or know someone that break things up in their anger that have OCD. Is this a normal thing to expect?

Serendip Visitor's picture



I would get your son to a psych practitioner or psychiatrist ASAP! Not the same one who prescribed the Prozac. Children on antidepressants can be high risk for suicide and aggressive behaviors. Sounds like something else is going on. These medications have a Black Box warnings on them pertaining to children. Pills are not the only answer and I hope you will get him the right help he needs.

Aunt to ocd's picture


You really should get him back to the doctors and have him re-evaluated and possibly the meds readjusted. My sister had a difficult time with her son was he was a teenager getting him on the right meds. She had some of them that made her son violent at times. He was angry a lot and she had to really work with the doctor until they found some meds that balanced him and worked for him. She kept going back until they were able to get it adjusted right. It took almost a year until they got him on medications that helped him. She was vigilant.

Serendip Visitor's picture


Thanks for replying back to my comment. I am taking him to the doctor tomorrow and see what she will do.

Jeanne Miller's picture


My grandaughter is 12years old and checks cutlery plates and many other things that they are clean, I think she may need help some way.
Please help.

Serendip Visitor's picture

Asperger's Syndrome : )

Sounds like you have Asperger's Syndrome. My kids are Autistic and I have Asperger's Syndrome so I know a LOT about the Autism Spectrum. Over Sensitivity to Tactile touch and other things going on. Just a thought!!

Brenda's picture

My son

My son twenty-five years old he has autism . He has the OCD also witch has put him world wind. He get upset beats up people . Hits wall throws things . What's you to repeat idem he wants over and over. He still get angry even if he gets what he wants or not. He stated this at 19 . He is none verbal so no one here can't treat him except with meds. That don't work please help us he use to be so loving enjoyed life. Loving mom!!!

Serendip Visitor's picture

Sensory Integration Disorder

I have two Autistic children with Sensory Integration Disorder. I as well have it. My oldest has Sensory Integration Disorder badly. Hypo and Hyper sensitivity to 7 Sensories. Seeking Sensory input and it being overwhelming to him. I know a lot about it. The two extra are Propriocepication and Vestibular. Dealing with your other Sensories. Autistic children's life revolve around this. Stimming and self Stimming to release energy when Hypo Sensitivity occurs. SPD is a part of my kids life greatly!! There is a big difference between Sensory Processing Disorder and OCD. I know a lot so any questions, and happy to help!!! :) xx

parvez's picture

cannot see the sun

i have a niece who develops a disorder at the age of 6.the problem is that she cannot at all support the rays of sun on her face,not the slightest.she rubs her hands on her face continuously without stopping,once she did it for long and she fainted and vomitted after that.what more intrigued is that she is left handed but she does this act with right hand.she is nearly 9 years now and not a day passed by she didnt stop doing this obsessive act.her mom has to let the window curtains on in order to prevent the sun rays in entering the rooms of the house.she several times excretes and pee in her pants as she doesnt have control on herself while doing this.please help my sister who is very depressed about her daughter and needs your help.she even had a head scan ,but doctor found nothing wrong in her results.blood test ok.she stopped doing it only when the sun goes down.

Serendip Visitor's picture

Parvez who commented about a niece and sun rays

Are you sure it is an OCD behavior and not a Sensory Integration Disorder?

Anonimus 's picture


This helped a lot, Iam a 15 year old and I'm trying to convince my mum to seek help, she won't listen to me, instead she tells over the top of me.
This first all started 9 years ago, mum had bad experiences with her relationships. Se was slowly developing paranoia. Every single guy she dated she'd blame him and say that he had been drugging her food and drink and she couldn't sleep properly. I and my sister had to move a lot of times because she though we were being followed by her ex, and she thought the local people were calling her abusive names and following her back home.Her paranoia got worse and she started blaming family members and thinking that they were involved in this so she moved overseas away from all our family and friends. This made a big impact on my and my 12 year old sister's life. At first we had no where to live so she applies for houses and looked for new jobs, in the meantime we slept in hotels and that was okay, but mum was running short on cash, so we had to sleep in the car; just before we mined overseas she use to talk to herself abit and I thought it was weird but it stopped, then one morning in our new country I woke up to mum putting the blanket inbetween my legs, I asked what she was doing and she said someone's hiding in the car and trying to sexually touch us and rape us; this made me very sick, it was about lunch time that day and she started talking to herself and swearing thinking that someone had put some device in her ears so they could talk to her and we couldn't hear them. This lasted for more than a week, it was getting more worse each day she was talking non stop, swearing non stop, crying non stop, it was hard to get any sleep. The next day we all woke up and she was sick of hearing the voices and she wanted to report her ex following her, so she visited the police station, as soon as she told them they knew something was wrong with her, so they took her to the hospital and me and my sister were being looked after by some random we didn't even know. A few days later we went to check up on mum to see how she was doing, at first I though maybe it worked but she was still going on about it so they kept her in longer. Our grandparents flew overseas and took us back to the country in which we were raised in, luckily my mum had recovered and she was on medication. Me and my sister didn't like it at first but we were so happy we could live a normal life like most kids. Mum rented a new house with the help of our family and they helped her buy a new car. A few months had passed and we were attending my old school. Me and my sister had our own rooms and life was great and relaxing, until my mum got a new job. Jobs just depress and stress her out too much, I didn't expect it to happen but she became paranoid again, at first I thought it wasn't real I couldn't believe it but she was going on about someone hanging around and entering our house again, I'm trying to tell her to get some help but he just won't listen, my grandparents are trying to help her out too and they rang a doctor for her and she stormed out of te house and drove home, she was meant to pick us up from school that day but she never did. Shes telling me that she's disappointed in me and my sister for not supporting her. She's recording noises on her iPhone and showing them to me, she said the noise are loud and you can hear guys in our house talking and waking around, I went to listen to the recording and all I could hear was her walk out of the house, the recording sounded static like then she came back in the house. She reckons I'm deaf and I have problems if I can't hear them. I just don't know what to do; I really hope she takes the recordings and tries to report to the police like she's saying she will because they are the only hope I have... There's soo much more to this, worser things that I haven't mentioned. I'm fed up... :( help me

p Visitor's picture

This is a good one

This is a good one

Serendip Visitor's picture

Counseling for your Mom

Hello Anonimus, I read your post and am very sorry that you are suffering from the symptoms of your mother's mental illness. Your mom needs counseling. I think she needs to be diagnosed right away. I am a graduate student in mental health counseling. I am not in the position to diagnose, however, the symptoms you have expressed sound a lot like paranoid schizophrenia or a personality disorder which are both treatable medically and in psychotherapy. If there is an adult, your general physician or school nurse, you can talk to that would be helpful for you. They can help your mother get the help she needs. I am so sorry you have this emotional load on your shoulders. The main thing is for you to do some good self-care for yourself and find a professional or school counselor even to talk to about these problems. Take care.

Serendip Visitor's picture

Read your story about your mother

Hi, I have read your story and really feel for you. It is not easy living with someone who has a mental challenge and especially someone who doesn't admit that there is something wrong. It is a big burden for someone who is as young as you. I am 33 and my 37 year old brother has OCD as well as about 6 personality disorders.. mainly obsessional ones. He began to make our lives absolutely intolerable about 5 years ago with his ridiculous obsessions about germs, refusing to touch anything, constantly washing his hands etc... that was just ONE of the disturbing behaviours. I ended up doing research on line to find a centre, its a kind of a hospital but decorated more like a hotel, that treats people like him. Its definitely a chemical imbalance in the brain which is what your mother has. It is not her fault but it IS something that medication and therapy can dramatically improve. You have to start by telling her that she NEEDS to admit she has a problem and she needs to see a therapist and start taking medication. Make an appointment for her. Tell her that if she loves you she will talk to this person and let this person determine if there is something wrong and if medication will help. Make her promise to take the medication. This usually works with most people.... in my case it didn't I had to take a more dramatic step. I went to a centre that treats people with mental challenges and asked for my brother to be admitted. They said there are 2 ways of being admitted... either he comes on his own or he is "sectioned". I don't know where in the world you are so I don't know what term you use in your country but it means the you are officially under the care of the government. The hospital in that case can force you to stay there, take medication and do therapy to get better. This is only happen if they deem her a threat to herself or to others. If she has ever tried to hurt you, they can section her. In the case where your mother would choose to go on her own, she would have to check herself in and follow all instructions and pay for everything. Maybe you can ask people in your family to help pay. This is what we did and he has improved a lot. He ended up going on his own and staying for a few months. These centres help people very much. they are all over the world. Google your city name and "mental disorder". It sounds like your mother has either schizophrenia which is much more common than you think and CAN be treated or she has a personality disorder like schizotypal personality disorder. If I were you I would read about both on line. I know its a dramatic suggestion but you could call a centre and tell them she tried to hurt herself or you even if its not true. She will deny it but you will have to stick by your story. This is a time to be strong. IF your mother does not listen to you and go on her own initiative you should consider taking this step because in the long run it will help her a lot. She may not even stay for a long time but as long as she is taking medication and is having therapy she will improve and you can have a normal life again. Best of luck and remember this behaviour is not her choice but seeking treatment IS. She has to understand how much this means to you.

sbrown11112's picture

When your mom was in the

When your mom was in the hospital was she diagnosed with some type of psychotic disorder. The disorders that can cause psychosis which it seems like your mom is experiencing could be schizophrenia, severe mood episodes in bipolar 1 disorder, schizoaffective disorder(which is schizophrenia and bipolar disorder) and substance abuse, particulary methamphetamine or cocaine use. I'm diagnosed with bipolar disorder and when my moods not stable i hear voices and at times have had time where i thought the government was putting thoughts in my head that weren't mine through drinking water bottles. I've also been very paranoid at times and stayed up all night looking out my window to check that people weren't spying on me. Is your mom on an antipsychotic? those will really help psychosis and can get her back to normal.

Clare Fisher's picture

obsessive compulsive personality disorder treatment

Thank you for sharing this post. A mental disorder or psychiatric disorder is a psychological pattern or anomaly, potentially reflected in behavior, that is generally associated with distress or disability, and which is not considered part of normal development in a person's culture.

sb111112's picture

I've been battling HOCD for

I've been battling HOCD for about 3 years. I didn't get diagnosed with OCD until about a month a go(which i'm relieved) because i thought i was in some gay denial when i know i wasn't gay and it caused me such bad anxiety. Recently though I've developed all kinds of sexual themes in OCD, where incest is involved, pedophilia and there all intrusive thoughts and images. I have Pure-O so my rituals and compulsions are all done in my head where i do complex thought blocking and will destroy the images and i will repeat words like bipolar disorder over and over again. I have bipolar disorder comorbid too. I'm sure every kind of OCD is terrible and i feel bad for everyone who has it, but i feel like sexual themes get too people so badly just because sex is such an important role in human nature. I also found out that my kind of OCD themes are pretty common affecting about a quarter of people with OCD so i'm glad i'm not alone. I wouldn't wish this disorder upon my greatest enemy. my bipolar disorder is pretty bad too because i have psychotic features and have had really bad suicidal thoughts at times, especially in mixed episodes but bipolar disorder is easier to treat with meds and my mood has been pretty stable for the last 2 months. OCD is chronic and my SSRI hasn't fully kicked in yet. I do plan on going to therapy though because i'm sure that will be the only way to manage my life. Also with the HOCD theme i also have nothing against gay people but the thought of myself being gay gave me such bad anxiety that i thought i was going to have to live with this forever when i love girls and find them attractive. Word of wisdom would be if your having doubts about your sexuality and you get intrusive thoughts and images please go seek help because you might have OCD. It's not fair to live a life that your not supposed to live especially when it affects your identity and gay people are gay from the start. If this occurs randomly out of know where when your 18 years old like it did to me then you are not homosexual. You just have to get help and i'm sure this disorder goes that same way for gay people thinking there straight. Get help and i don't care what sexual orientation you are. Don't live like this and also you don't want to live with intrusive incest thoughts. Those can be extremely distressing especially when you see your mom and dad everyday. good luck to all of you with OCD

randomgirl's picture


I'm glad to have found this site.
When my grandmother died (I was 8) my grandfather became OCD (my grandmother never was). My mother is OCD and now I am too.
I tend to hoarde old belongings and check and recheck stuff. I also have a certain "number" of how many times to check things. I also have other tendencies that are clearly OCD but are too strange to even explain.
I can't speak for my grandfather, but for me, one of the reasons I am OCD is because I have had a lot of unlucky things happen to me that have caused me great depression. Somehow I feel I f I check things a certain amount of times I'm "paying my dues" and nothing bad will happen. I know it sounds crazy but by certain coincidences, on the days I tried to kick the habit and just stop, bad things HAVE happened and I feel responsible. My mother is OCD in different ways then me s I'm not sure hw I developed this certain set of symptoms.
I remember becoming this way the same time as my grandfather. My grandmother had cancer and my grandpa would make me wash my hands 100 times a day if I touched any of her things (after she had died). The room she died in he never slept in again. The door had to stand ajar. I couldn't open it all the way or close itwithout him correcting me. As I get older, I'm getting worse with more and more conditions I live with daily. Its getting out of control :(

Cherie Wood's picture

cure for ocd

Some OCD sufferers exhibit what is known as overvalued ideas. In such cases, the person with OCD will truly be uncertain whether the fears that cause them to perform their compulsions are irrational or not. After some discussion, it is possible to convince the individual that their fears may be unfounded. Thank you for sharing.

faiz's picture

obc symptoms

i knw hv OBC bcoz i hv all symptoms of obc.but there is smthng strange whn i do grt wrk i feel nt happy i dont want to be unique i dont know y??
is this also obs's symptoms???

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