It is normal on occasions that we double check the lock of the door or the regulator of the gas to make sure that the things are okay before leaving the house. But there are people who do this kind of activity as rituals and unfortunately this is a disorder. It is known as Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) which is characterized by the unwanted and intrusive thoughts that they cannot seem to get out of their heads which compels them to do something repeatedly to reduce anxiety caused by obsessive thoughts.

Since the people with OCD are misjudged as having bad habits the early diagnosis of the disorder is difficult until severe complications have occurred. The signs and symptoms of OCD vary according to people. Common types of symptoms include obsessive hand-washing or household cleaning to reduce an exaggerated fear of contamination from germs and dust, repeatedly counting items or objects, such as their clothes or pavement blocks when they are walking; hoarding items such as junk mail and old newspapers, praying excessively or engaging in rituals triggered by religious fear, repeatedly checking in on loved ones to make sure they’re safe. Most people who have OCD are aware that their obsessions and compulsions are irrational. The prevalence of OCD is gradually increasing with cases of over 2.2 million among the 18 to 54 age group people in USA only. It strikes men and women in roughly equal numbers and usually appears in childhood, adolescence, or early adulthood. One-third of adults with OCD develop symptoms as children, and research indicates that OCD might run in families. Scientists are yet to pinpoint a single cause of OCD, however abnormalities, or an imbalance in the neurotransmitter, or brain chemical, serotonin, could be blamed. Serotonin is the chemical in the brain that sends messages between brain cells, and it is thought to be involved in regulating everything from anxiety to memory to sleep.

Although it is a difficult disease to cure, proper medication and therapy can be helpful in improving the quality of life of the sufferers. Medicine that increases the serotonin activity is used to treat OCD which includes a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), such as fluoxetine. An effective therapy which is known as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is practiced in most of the cases where the sufferers are taught healthy and effective ways of responding to obsessive thoughts, without resorting to compulsive behavior.