Obsessive Compulsive Disorder – OCD

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a common, chronic and long-lasting disorder, in which a person has uncontrollable, reoccurring thoughts / obsessions and behaviors / compulsions, that they must repeat over and over.

Signs & Symptoms Of Obsessive Compulsive Disorders

People with OCD may have symptoms of obsessions, compulsions, or both. These symptoms can interfere with all aspects of life, such as work, school, and personal relationships.

Obsessions are repeated thoughts, urges, or mental images that cause anxiety. Common obsessions include:

  • Aggressive thoughts towards others or themselves
  • Fear of germs, infection or contamination
  • Unwanted taboo (forbidden) thoughts involving: sex, religion and harm
  • Having things symmetrical and/or in a perfect order

Compulsions are repetitive actions / behaviors that a person with OCD feels the urge to do in response to an obsessive thought. Common compulsions include:

  • Excessive cleaning and/or handwashing
  • Repeatedly checking on things: repeatedly checking that the iron turned off; checking to see that the door is locked or closed; checking to make sure that the oven is off
  • Compulsive counting
  • Ordering and arranging things in a particular and precise way

The thing to keep in mind is that everyone double checks things once in a while. The difference with someone who has OCD is that they generally:

  • Spends a minimum of 1 hour a day on these thoughts or behaviors
  • They do not receive pleasure or satisfaction when performing obsessions, compulsions or rituals. There may be a brief moment of relief from the anxiety after performing these rituals.
  • The cannot control their thoughts or behaviors, even though they recognize them as being excessive.
  • These thoughts and/or behaviors cause significant difficulties in everyday living.

It is possible that individuals with ccd may have an problem with tics (a spasmodic contraction of the muscles). There are several types of tics:

  • Vocal tics can include throat clearing, grunting or sniffing sounds.
  • Motor tics are repetitive movements which can include, facial grimacing, head or shoulder jerking, blinking of the eye(s) or other eye movements and/or shrugging the shoulders.

Tics can come and go or they become worse or decrease over time. Those with OCD may recognize that what they are doing does not make sense, while others do not realize that their behavior is not normal. Often times, parents and teachers will recognize OCD symptoms that children may exhibit.

Tics can be triggered by situations and can lead to obsessions. To avoid triggers, those with OCD may use of alcohol or drugs to calm themselves. This can lead to alcohol / drug dependency which can possibly develop into alcohol / drug abuse.

If left untreated, OCD can become debilitating and interfere in all aspects of everyday life. Symptoms can cause avoiding situations and eventually isolation. If you know someone or think you have OCD, talk to your physician about the symptoms and possible treatments.

Who Is At Risk

OCD is a common disorder that affects adults, adolescents and children. Adolescents / Young Adults are diagnosed by about age 19. Males tend to show symptoms at an earlier are than females. OCD does not only affect children and adolescents and has been diagnosed after the age of 35.

The Cause Of OCD Is Unknown, But Can Be Caused By:


Those who have a parents, siblings or children who have OCD, have a higher risk o developing OCD. The risk is increased if the parent, sibling or child developed OCD as a child or teen.

The Structure & Function Of The Brain

Studies have shown there are detectable differences in the frontal cortex and subcortical structures of the brain in patients with OCD. There may be a connection between OCD symptoms and abnormalities in certain areas of the brain. Research is still underway to discover and understand this connection.

Factors That Can Cause OCD

Those who have experienced abuse (physical or sexual) during their childhood are at an increased risk for developing OCD. Other traumas have also been known to increase the development of OCD.

Some children may develop OCD and/or OCD symptoms following a streptococcal infection. This is called Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcal Infections (PANDAS).

Treating OCD

OCD is typically treated with pharmacotherapy, psychotherapy or a combination of the two. Most patients with OCD respond to treatment, while others may continue to experience symptoms.

It is possible to have other mental disorders, such as anxiety, depression and body dysmorphic disorder (disorder in which someone mistakenly believes that a part of their body is abnormal). It is important to consider these other disorders when making decisions for treatment.


Serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SRIs) and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are used to help reduce OCD symptoms. SRIs may require higher daily doses to treat OCD than for depression. It may take 8 to 12 weeks before showing signs of working, while other patients experience improvement more rapidly.

If symptoms do not improve with these types of medications, research shows that some patients may respond well to an antipsychotic medication (such as risperidone). Although research shows that an antipsychotic medication may be helpful in managing symptoms for people who have both OCD and a tic disorder, research on the effectiveness of antipsychotics to treat OCD is mixed.


Psychotherapy can be an effective treatment for adults and children with OCD. A combination of certain types of psychotherapy, cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) and other therapies (e.g., habit reversal training) can be as effective as the use of pharmacotherapy / medications. Research also shows that a type of CBT called Exposure and Response Prevention (EX/RP) is effective in reducing compulsive behaviors in OCD. For many patients EX/RP is an additional treatment when pharmacotherapy / medication does not effectively treat OCD symptoms.

Contact Mathers Clinic

Contact us to schedule an appointment with a psychiatrist or for more information about our services by calling (815) 444.9999. You may also email us at info@themathersclinic.com. We look forward to helping you meet with a psychologist at a time that works well for you.



Crystal Lake Office
145 South Virginia Street
Crystal Lake, Illinois 60014
phone: 815.444.9999
fax: 815.986.1363


Crystal Lake Business Hours
Monday 8:00am - 7:00pm
Tuesday 8:00am - 7:30pm
Wednesday 8:00am - 6:00pm
Thursday 8:00am - 5:00pm
Friday 8:00am - 5:00pm
Saturday 9:00am - 12:00pm
Sunday Closed

Woodstock Office
715 West Judd Street
Woodstock, Illinois 60098
phone: 815.444.9999
fax: 815.986.1363


Woodstock Business Hours
Monday 9:00am - 5:00pm
Tuesday 9:00am - 7:00pm
Wednesday Closed
Thursday 9:00am - 7:00pm
Friday 8:00am - 5:00pm
Saturday Closed
Sunday Closed

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