Do you ever feel like you’re being controlled by your thoughts? That you can’t escape the obsessive thoughts that seem to invade your mind at all hours of the day? If so, you may be struggling with OCD. OCD is a mental health disorder that causes intrusive thoughts and compulsive behaviors. In this blog post, we will discuss the top five factors that are believed to contribute to OCD.
What Causes OCD?
In life, everyone faces some intrusive thoughts and anxiety-provoking situations. But, most people avoid their conscious thought and move further. However, this is not the case in individuals with OCD. They have repetitive and intrusive thoughts that are beyond their control. The individual is not able to forget or ignore the thoughts which bother him/her the most. As these thoughts get ‘stuck’ in their minds.
These obsessions can be related to different things such as cleanliness, safety, orderliness, symmetry, religion, etc. The person suffering from OCD tries to suppress these thoughts by performing some rituals or compulsions. But, unfortunately, the obsessions only become more intense with time.
Five Common Factors
There are different causes of OCD, and no single factor can be blamed for the development of this disorder. It is most likely a combination of different genetic and environmental factors that contribute to its development.
The following are some of the top five factors that are believed to play a role in the development of OCD:
Brain Structure and Functioning
The brain structure of those people with OCD is different from others. The parts of the brain that are responsible for a person’s decision-making ability, motor skills, and emotion are not working properly.
A recent study has shown that people with OCD have an imbalance of serotonin in their brains. Also, the research suggests that some of the OCD symptoms include errors in communication because of the malfunctioning of the prefrontal cortex. Also, various kinds of abnormalities in the neurotransmitters system other than serotonin imbalance, such as; dopamine, glutamate, and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) have been found in OCD patients.
So, brain functioning can be the most factual answer to the question – of what causes OCD. It can be said that it is the brain that makes a person more prone to developing OCD.
Apart from the brain, environmental factors also play an important role in causing OCD. Various studies have shown that people with OCD generally developed because of some stressful life event. For example, the death of a loved one, a change in job or place of residence, etc.
Moreover, environmental factors can be considered as triggers that can worsen OCD symptoms. For instance, a person with a fear of contamination may start washing his/her hands again and again after coming in contact with dirt or any object that he/she considers contaminated. On the other hand, it also includes childhood trauma, for instance, sexual, physical, or emotional abuse.
A study on this cause of OCD showed that environmental factors can interact with the genes to produce this mental disorder. So, these were some of the most important causes of OCD. It is still not clear what exactly causes this mental disorder. However, scientists are constantly trying to find out more about it.
Genetics and Family History
Obsessive-compulsive disorder can run in families. If any of your close relatives such as parents or siblings have OCD, then you are more likely to develop the disorder.
But, it is still not clear how much genetics plays a role in developing OCD. Some studies suggest that if one identical twin has OCD, then the other twin also has a 50% chance of developing the same disorder. Whereas, people who have OCD mostly have a chance of having a history of OCD sufferers around 25%. Overall studies about what causes OCD, then it is preferable that a total of 40-45% of genetics are responsible to develop OCD.
Additionally, the family environment may also play a role in developing OCD. If people see their close relatives struggling with OCD, they may think that it is normal to have such behaviors. As a result, they may start imitating these behaviors. For example, a child may start washing their hands excessively after seeing their mother do the same thing.
Behavioral And Cognitive Aspects
This is more conflicting and also hardest to change. A child who is excessively neat and orderly or who has very strict rules about certain things may be at risk of developing OCD. It is more often described as a need for symmetry and exactness. This may manifest in a child who is extremely messy and has to have everything “just so.” A change in routine can trigger anxiety or OCD symptoms in children. For example, a new baby in the family, starting school, or moving to a new house can all be potential stressors that can cause OCD behaviors to surface.
It is associated with the sense of “Perfectionism” that is common in OCD. Children with OCD may have repetitive behaviors, such as hand-washing, counting, or checking things. They may also have mental compulsions, such as repeating words or phrases over and over.
Moreover, there is some evidence that suggests that certain cultures are more likely to produce individuals with OCD. For example, countries like Japan and South Korea have a higher rate of OCD than North America. One theory is that this may be because these cultures place a high value on cleanliness and orderliness. Another theory is that it may be because these cultures are more collectivist, and individuals may feel a greater need to conform to societal norms.
Anxiety, Depression, And Stressful Life
Anxiety and depression are believed to be what cause OCD to a high extent. Depression may increase the risk of developing OCD, or it may make the symptoms of OCD worse. Stressful life events, such as the job work pressure or the loss of a loved one, can also trigger OCD symptoms.
It is important to note that not all people with anxiety or depression will develop OCD. And not all people who experience stressful life events will develop OCD. However, these factors may increase the risk of developing OCD. There is one study regarding this specific cause. A study of twins found that anxiety and depression were the two most important factors in the development of OCD.
So, being aware of these causes might give you some clues if someone around you developing OCD. And also, it is important to seek professional help as soon as possible. All of these experiences can be incredibly traumatizing and may lead to the development of OCD. If you have experienced any of these things, it’s important to seek out help from a therapist or counselor who can help you deal with your trauma.
You can consider Mantra Care as one of the references to get help from professionals. Mantra Care is an app that offers a wide range of mental health services, including OCD treatment. With this app, you can get help from a licensed therapist anytime, anywhere.
How To Deal With OCD?
When you recognize the causes and triggers of your OCD, you can develop a plan to address them. Here are some helpful tips:
Learn about OCD
The more you know about the condition, the better equipped you will be to deal with it. It also means that you can separate the myths from the facts, which can help to reduce your anxiety. And, when you identify the causes, it is itself a first step in learning how to deal with OCD. In fact, it is more about being proactive than reactive.
Identify your triggers
Identifying your triggers is always helpful. Once you know what causes your OCD, you can develop a plan to address the issue. For example, if you know that stress is a trigger for your OCD, then you can develop coping mechanisms to deal with stress. Moreover, when you know your triggers, you can avoid them or be prepared for them.
Challenge your thoughts
One of the most effective ways to deal with OCD is to challenge your thoughts. When you have an intrusive thought, don’t immediately believe it. Instead, question it and look at the evidence. Most often, when you challenge your thoughts, you’ll see that they are not based on reality.
Get professional help
If you’re struggling to deal with OCD on your own, it’s important to seek professional help. A therapist can provide you with the tools and support you need to manage your OCD. They can also help you to develop a plan to address your triggers and challenge your thoughts. You can try Mantra Care for a better understanding of your OCD. They can provide you with useful information and help you to find the treatment you need.
Support groups are another great resource for people with OCD. In a support group, you can share your experiences and learn from others who understand what you’re going through. Support groups can provide you with practical tips and emotional support. You can also find online support groups if there are no local options available.
Practice relaxation techniques
Relaxation techniques can help to reduce the anxiety that is associated with OCD. When you’re feeling anxious, try some deep breathing exercises or progressive muscle relaxation. These techniques can help to calm your body and mind. Moreover, they can be used in conjunction with other treatment methods to help you manage your OCD.
The best way to deal with OCD is to identify the causes and triggers of your condition. Once you know what causes your OCD, you can develop a plan to address the issue. If you’re struggling to deal with OCD on your own, it’s important to seek professional help. With time and effort, you can learn how to manage your OCD and live a fulfilling life.
Mantra Care has helped countless people with OCD to develop healthy coping mechanisms and find the treatment they need. If you or someone you know is struggling with OCD, we encourage you to reach out for help. Mantra Care is here to support you on your journey.
Conclusively, the question of what causes OCD is still up for debate in the medical community. However, the five factors listed above seem to play the biggest role in the development of OCD. If you or someone you know is struggling with OCD, don’t hesitate to reach out to a mental health professional for help.
If you want to know more about this topic, then book a free consultation with the experts of OCD therapists at Mantra Care. During the consultation, you will be able to ask any questions that you may have about OCD and get helpful tips on how to deal with it.
I hope this article helped understand what causes OCD. If you have any questions, please feel free to visit the website and contact us. Thanks for reading!
A Word From Mantra Care
Your mental health — your psychological, emotional, and social well-being — has an impact on every aspect of your life. Positive mental health essentially allows you to effectively deal with life’s everyday challenges.
At Mantra Care, we have a team of therapists who provide affordable online therapy to assist you with issues such as depression, anxiety, stress, relationship, OCD, LGBTQ, and PTSD. You can take our mental health test. You can also book a free therapy or download our free Android or iOS app.