What Is Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder? - OCD treatment in San Mateo CA

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a relatively common anxiety disorder. Around 2% of the population, or 1 in 50, are living with OCD. While it is common in everyday speech for people to joke about having OCD because they like to have things arranged in order, living with the disorder can severely interfere with your life and cause a lot of distress. Find the newest information about OCD treatment in San Mateo CA here!

What is obsessive-compulsive disorder?

OCD is an anxiety disorder characterized by both obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors. While OCD can begin at any time of life, and even during childhood, it is most common for symptoms to start in early adulthood.

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Symptoms of OCD

Obsessive thoughts

These can be thoughts, images, or urges/impulses that are unwanted and unpleasant. They can leave the person with feelings of anxiety, disgust, doubt, unease, and a feeling that things must be "just right". People with OCD are usually aware that these thoughts don't make sense but they have no way of controlling them.

Common categories of obsessive thoughts include:

  • contamination

  • unwanted sexual thoughts

  • losing control

  • religious obsessions

  • harm

  • perfectionism

Compulsive behaviors

These are repetitive behaviors or mental acts that the person feels they have to do in order to neutralize or counteract their obsessive thoughts to make them go away. This relief is temporary, and the person with OCD is usually aware that it will be.

Common categories of compulsive behaviors include:

  • washing and cleaning

  • mental compulsions

  • checking

  • Repeating

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What causes OCD?

There is no single cause of OCD, but there are some factors that can make people more likely to develop the disorder.

1) Genetics

OCD does seem to run in families, so it is likely that there is a genetic component to it. People who have close family members with OCD are more likely to develop the disorder themselves.

2) Brain differences

There is some evidence that the brains of people with OCD are different from the brains of people without it. OCD may be a problem with communication between the front part of the brain and other areas and appears to be related to lower levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin.

3) Life events

People who have endured abuse or neglect are more likely to develop OCD. It can also be triggered by major life events such as bereavement or having a baby.

4) Personality traits

People who have a meticulous, methodical, and anxious personality with high personal standards are more likely to develop OCD.

How is OCD diagnosed?

Only a trained therapist can diagnose OCD. They will look for obsessive thoughts, compulsive behaviors, as well as the impact on the person's life. For OCD, the symptoms have to severely interfere with everyday functioning and prevent the person from taking part in the activities they value.

How is OCD treated?

There are two main forms of treatment for OCD and people will sometimes receive a combination of the two.

1) Psychological therapy

This is usually cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and involves getting the person to face their fears and their obsessive thoughts without completing their compulsive behaviors. This treatment usually starts to work very quickly.

2) Medicine

The most common medical treatment is the use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) that work by increasing the amount of serotonin in the brain. This treatment takes longer to start working but can be effective.

For OCD treatment in San Mateo CA, check out Harry Verby, M.D. Behavioral: Medical Clinic


OCD is a common anxiety disorder that can severely interfere with a person's life and involves both obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors. It may be genetic, triggered by life events, differences in the brain, or personality traits. If you’re looking for the best quality of care for OCD, then you need to check out Harry Verby, M.D. Behavioral: Medical Clinic. With a track record of experience and patient satisfaction, there’s simply no better option in the San Mateo area.

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