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OCD--What causes OCD? Part I

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

OCD is still relatively new to mental illness. Have you ever wondered how one gets OCD? For further discussion, I have copied information on the risk factors associated with OCD. You will be as surprised as I was when I read the risk factors associated with OCD.

Read the following and join our team at Obsessive Compulsive Disorders for a discussion:

"OCD Risk Factors
Learn About the Main OCD Risk Factors
From Owen Kelly, Ph.D., former Guide

There are many OCD risk factors. A risk factor is something that increases a person’s chances of eventually developing a given illness. Risk factors can include a person’s age, gender, family history, the kinds of behavior they engage in, the type of environment they grew up in, and the experiences they’ve had. Let’s review some of the OCD risk factors.
Age. Late adolescence seems to be the time when people are at the greatest risk for developing OCD. Once in early adulthood, the risk of developing OCD drops with age.
Gender. Gender as a risk factor for developing OCD varies with age. Males are at greater risk for developing childhood OCD. However, following the onset of puberty the risk of developing OCD for males and females is about the same. Men and woman may exhibit different symptoms, however; males are more likely to complain of obsessions related to sexuality, exactness and symmetry, and women are more likely to complain about obsessions and compulsions related to contamination and cleaning.

Genetics. About 50% of your risk for developing OCD is determined by your genes. As such, having family members with OCD is a risk factor for developing the disease. The closer these individuals are to your immediate family, the greater your risk. It is important to keep in mind, however, that families can shape our behavior in ways other than through genes. For example, many of the ways that we use to cope with stress are learned from our families. As such, a family could “pass on” poor ways of dealing with stress, thus increasing the likelihood of developing OCD.

Life Events. Stressful life events -- particularly those which are traumatic in nature and which occurred early on in life -- are major risk factors for developing OCD. For example, having been physically and sexually abused are important risk factors for the development of OCD.

Mental Illness. Having another form of mental illness -- especially another anxiety disorder, is a risk factor for developing OCD. This relationship is complex, however, since in some people, OCD may be a risk factor for other mental illnesses.

Personality. Certain personality characteristics may contribute to a vulnerability for developing OCD. For example, people who score high on measures of neuroticism may be at greater risk for developing OCD.

Drug Use. The use of illicit drugs is a risk factor for developing OCD. Drug use can create a vulnerability for developing OCD by causing neurotransmitter changes in the brain, as well as indirectly by creating additional stress through conflict with parents, difficulty maintaining employment and trouble with the law.

Maritial Status. Being unmarried seems to be a risk factor for developing OCD. Whether this is a direct cause of OCD or not is unclear, as being unmarried may simply be a result of debilitating OCD symptoms that get in the way of forming relationships. On the other hand, marriage may buffer people against life stress, thus reducing the chances of developing OCD.

Employment Status. Being unemployed is also a risk factor for developing OCD. However, like being unmarried, being unemployed may be both a cause and consequence of OCD symptoms.

Socioeconomic Status. Lower socioeconomic status is a risk factor for developing OCD. Again, like marital and unemployment status, it is unclear whether this is a cause or consequence of OCD symptoms."

Join our team at Obsessive Compulsive Disorders for a discussion of how OCD affects you and loved ones.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    My OCD has gotten so much worse in recent years. I don't know. I wonder if any of these things caused it.
    1858 days ago
  • KERRYG155
    Very interesting!
    1861 days ago
    I am constantly amazed at how OCD can develop. I think it is a catch-all for mental illnesses. Like diabetes, OCD affects every part of the psyche.

    1862 days ago
    My late husband had very bad OCD. He had a poor childhood (bitter family arguments.) When he saw a Psychiatrist about 6-7 years ago, he asked hubby what illnesses he had had as a child. Hubby casually mentioned Rheumatic Fever when he was about 8 yrs old. The Psychiatrist sat bolt upright - his demeanor changed considerably. He then told us that it appears that Rheumatic Fever can actually cause OCD - normally the bug lodges in the heart - but it can also lodge in the brain - the part of the brain that is associated with OCD.

    1862 days ago
    1862 days ago
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