By Dr Srinivas Kandrakonda
Consultant Neuro-Psychiatrist
Published on: 18/06/2022


Home | Articles | Obsessive compulsive disorder

Do unwanted feelings and compelling thoughts rule your daily life? This could be Obsessive Compulsive Disorder or OCD!

People suffering from obsessive-compulsive disorder or OCD are always frightened, apprehensive, and nervous. If you have the disorder, you might experience the sensation that the brain gets stuck on certain images, urges, and thoughts.

OCD causes distress and interferes with normal life.

Let's understand OCD in depth!

What is Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder?

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a condition in which a person has repeated sensations, thoughts, or ideas that cause him or her to feel compelled to do something over and over again. Repetitive behaviour such as cleaning, checking on things, or washing hands can all interfere with a person's social interactions or everyday activities.

OCD is not a bad habit like nail biting or negative thinking. A compulsive behaviour could be washing hands ten times after touching a dirty object or surface. Even if the person does not like or want to do these behaviours, he or she may feel powerless to stop them.

Can OCD damage the brain?

OCD patients have less grey matter in certain parts of the brain. The grey matter-rich areas of the brain serve to control impulses, manage senses, process information, develop, regulate, and exhibit motor skills such as talking, writing, reaction time, balance, coordination, and drawing.

Unfortunately, OCD reduces the quantity of grey matter in the brain, making OCD people less able to regulate their impulses. Low levels of grey matter can also change how people receive information, increasing the propensity to obsess over "negative thoughts", whether one wishes to or not.

But, how can we detect if someone has OCD?

Obsession can be upsetting and result in severe anxiety. Here are some of the signs of OCD:

  • Persistent doubts about doing the correct thing like closing the door, turning out the lights, or counting objects
  • Fear of being infected with dirt or germs
  • Keeping things in symmetry or specific order
  • Thoughts of harming or hurting someone

On the other hand, compulsions are repetitive behaviours performed to neutralise or counteract the stress caused by an obsession. Some of the signs of compulsion are:

  • Repeated cleaning of the household items
  • Arranging things in a specific way and getting upset if the order is disrupted
  • Repeated counting

Can OCD be cured?

Obsessive-compulsive disorder cannot be cured. However, treatment can help to control the symptoms so that they do not take over daily life. Some patients may require long-term, ongoing, or more intensive treatment depending on the severity of the OCD. People suffering from OCD can seek effective psychological treatment from a psychiatrist or psychologist, who can guide and support them.

Here are some other treatments that may help manage the symptoms of OCD:

  • Medications:

    To boost the levels of serotonin (a chemical messenger) in the brain, which may help reduce OCD symptoms, the doctors may prescribe medications such as selective SRIs (SSRIs), tricyclic antidepressants, and serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SRIs).
  • Psychological therapy:

    Therapies such as cognitive behavioural therapy are intended to help patients recognise and regulate their obsessive concerns and thoughts.
  • Deep brain stimulation (DBS):

    It is a surgical procedure in which electrodes are implanted in specific parts of the brain and modest electric currents are used to stimulate them. These electrical impulses help in the reduction of chronic OCD symptoms.

What happens if CBT and medications don’t work for OCD?

If CBT and medicine don't work, a healthcare provider may try these therapies to improve the mood:

  • Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT): Electroconvulsive therapy involves the use of electrodes that are attached to the head, and electric shocks are delivered to the brain. This helps the brain release helpful chemicals.
  • Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS): A magnetic device inserted on the head is used for transcranial magnetic stimulation. It sends electrical signals to the brain. The impulses trigger the brain to produce chemicals associated with the therapy.

With OCD, the thoughts and behaviours create a great deal of distress, require a lot of time, and interfere with your everyday life and relationships.


You don’t have to battle OCD alone!

Book your appointment with our expert Neurologist.

Let’s decode OCD and restore your brain together!


Reference link:

  • https://link.springer.com/referenceworkentry/10.1007/978-3-319-24612-3_919?noAccess=true
  • https://www.bmj.com/content/333/7565/424?ehom=
  • https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0140673602096204
  • https://ajp.psychiatryonline.org/doi/full/10.1176/appi.ajp.2016.16020201