How Does OCD develop?

anxiety how does ocd develop? intrusive thoughts mental health obsessions ocd ocd faqs what causes ocd? what is ocd Sep 17, 2020

How Does OCD develop? What Causes OCD?


Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) features a pattern of unwanted thoughts called obsessions, that produce anxiety, which lead you to perform repetitive behaviors called compulsions. These obsessions and compulsions tend to get worse over time and can interfere with daily activities and cause significant distress.

In this video, I discussed how  OCD develops specifically the four components that causes OCD to form.  If you have friends and family members who are suffering from OCD, feel free to share this information with them to help spread awareness and education.




All right. Hey, my friend. And welcome to this episode where we're going to talk about how OCD develops in someone's life or, you know, essentially what causes OCD or obsessive compulsive disorder to develop. And, um, you know, what I, what I want to talk about first is is that, you know, it's important to understand that OCD can onset at different points of people's lives. In fact, I have a whole nother episode on that and, you know, we can link it down in the notes below about when it develops, but generally speaking, um, OCD develops kind of in late, you know, um, or early or late adolescents. So you're talking in that 10 to 12 range or that, uh, like kind of 16 to 20 range, but there are cases in which it can onset in adulthood in, in, you know, postpartum OCD and things like that.


And again, when we're talking about OCD, what we're talking about is, um, obsessive compulsive disorder. So there's that four main components that we're looking for, right? So you have the obsession, right. Which is the intrusive thought or that, you know, the thought that produces doubt and uncertainty and anxiety. Right. And so that's the first part is the thought second part is that anxiety or that uncertainty, and then you have the compulsion that someone does in order to relieve the anxiety. Right? So the fourth part is that relief. And what we were talking about in this particular episode is, well, how does that, that cycle develop, right? And what causes that cycle to develop in a person's life. And, you know, there, there are obviously several factors at play here, right? So it's not like this one thing happens that, um, that causes this to happen in a person's life.


Because, you know, there is evidence to suggest that there could be a genetic component and, you know, in, in my experience, and not only with OCD, but also working with many people, it doesn't necessarily mean that, you know, because if you have OCD, that means guaranteed that your parents did right. And it's in, in my opinion, you're not born with OCD, right? So this is not, this is genetic only disorder, right? There's environmental triggers that then surface, you know, your, your propensity to, to engage in this, in, in, in these overreactions, right? So you have a combination of a genetic component and an environmental factors. So we want to talk about that obviously first, right? Is that we need to understand there's this combination at play here. Now. I don't know exactly what the percentages are, and I'm sure there are different for each and every person.


But when we're talking about what causes OCD to develop, now that we understand those two factors, what, what we need to understand is that OCD is, is developed, right? That loop that people get caught, they get caught in, right. Based on an initial overreaction to some, to whatever that, that fear destressor is, or that fear trigger. And then when they do a compulsion to relieve that stress, it solidifies into a loop, right? So for instance, I give someone is afraid of, um, contamination, right. You know, which is a very common form of OCD. You know, they're, they're going to touch something, right. They say a specific object, and then they have a false appraisal of that threat. Right? So they, they falsely, you know, uh, again, um, miscalculate the thread they're there and, and which causes an overreaction in the body, right? The stress response fires off, they go into fight or flight mode, and then they do a behavior to neutralize the threat.


Right. Well, doing that behavior then solidifies the idea that that thought was dangerous. So then the next time they experience that thought they have that same reaction again, and then they do the compulsion again, and they build a tolerance to the compulsions. So it just grows and grows and grows like this just weed. Right. And that's why you'll see OCD onset quite suddenly in people's lives. Right. So in the, in the example of contamination, like if someone touches the doorknob and their mind, falsely appraises, the idea that that door knob is dangerous and they have a reaction to it emotionally, well, then they're going to do something like wash their hands, which is the compulsion that then causes relief. And then the next time they touch a door knob, they're going to have, again, that large emotional reaction and then do the compulsion again. And it just grows and grows and grows.


So what we need to understand about what causes OCD, well, there could be a genetic predisposition to let's say having an overreaction to something right. Or even having, I don't know, kind of a, an active mind, right. An overactive minder, you know? Uh, and, and, and again, it could be learned as well. Right. You know, if your parent is always like, don't touch that that's dirty. Right. You know, I mean, like that stuff early on in childhood, you know, could obviously create that propensity to have those kinds of thoughts later in life. And then when you have that overreaction and then you engage in a compulsion to relieve that reaction, that's what causes that, that to solidify as a loop. Right. So when you have that thought, and then again, this could be, it'd be thoughts on anything. Cause, um, OCD can latch on to all sorts of things that could get, you know, a religious theme, right?


People could have intrusive thoughts that are harmful towards others or towards themselves. They could also have intrusive thoughts that are, you know, sexual, and, and then you can also go into like hit and run a city where people are, um, you know, worried that they're going to accidentally hurt someone with their car and you can go into contamination. Right. You know, catastrophe events, fears of bad things happening. I mean, all sorts of things can happen. Right. And, um, and again, I have some links down in the notes where you can look at different subtypes of OCD if you want to, but really what causes that to solidify a loop. Right. And this is the important part is those four components. So you have the, the intrusive thought or the obsessive thought, or the co the, the thought that's essentially rooted in doubt. Right. Cause OCD, um, was coined by the friendships, the doubting disorder.


Right. So that thought, that produces doubt. And then you have the overreaction in, in that right. There is really where the catalyst of it. Right. Cause a lot of people have the same kind of thoughts that people with OCD have. They just don't have that overreaction. And then when you do a compulsion to neutralize the overreaction and get that relief, then the thought happens again. Then the overreaction happens again and then you have to do the compulsion again. And that's what builds it into that loop. Right. So when, when we're talking about what causes it, yes. There's an aspect of genes and environment. Sure. We like, we, we know that, um, I don't know the percentage and I'm sure it's different for each one, but really the intrusive thought and the thoughts, usually most people experience those kinds of thoughts, so that false appraisal of threat and that overreaction from the stress response, um, you know, that that's a unique component to OCD.


And then when we engage in a compulsion to neutralize, it that's really what solidifies it into the loop. So, you know, this I'm in this episode, I just wanted to talk about that one idea. Um, because as we move on in this series, we're going to talk about, um, you know, different components of the, of the OCD loop. And again, not only what causes it, but then what you can start doing to really break yourself out of that loop. So, um, you know, if you found this helpful, we always appreciate if you'd like and subscribe and follow us and share it with your friends as well on social. And, uh, if you, if you do struggle with OCD, there's also some resources down in the notes as well. Um, you have free guides and assessments, um, to help you on our, on our website at restored mine's dot com. So thank you so much for taking the time to, uh, listen to this episode and I will see you guys soon take care.