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Doctor and Patient



Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (or OCD)

"Every day before I go to work, I spend nearly an hour checking everything in the house, from the door lock to the cooking stove, over and over again, until I was late for work..."

What is obsessive-compulsive disorder?

Obsessive-compulsive disorder one kind of anxiety disorder. The patient will repeatedly ruminate about the same thing or perform the same act, so as to reduce some anxiety feeling. They can tell that the thoughts or actions are unnecessary, but they cannot stop it from happening. Trying to stop them makes their anxiety even worse. Yet, these repetitive thoughts or behaviors may seriously affect their normal activities.

What are the symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder?

The symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder can be divided into two main categories:

  • Obsession
    Patient will repeatedly think of some trivial matters, some words, images or even an impulse.

  • Compulsion
    Patients will repeatedly perform one actions, such as washing hands or counting.

What can I do if I develop symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder?

  • Try to stop the repetitive behavior and look into the thing that makes you feel anxious.
    You can write it down in words or create an audio recordings. You can listen to them or read them until your anxiety subsides.

  • Self-relaxation
    Whenever obsessive thoughts or behaviors appear, try to distract yourself by counting numbers or recalling something that is enjoyable, until your anxiety subsides.

  • Seek professional treatment
    If you have failed the above methods, please contact your doctor for further management.

How to treat obsessive-compulsive disorder?

The treatment for obsessive-compulsive disorder mainly includes medication and psychotherapy:

  • Medication
    Commonly used medication include selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and tranquilizers. The former can regulate the serotonin level and thus reduce obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors. Tranquilizers can help reduce anxiety feeling, thereby reducing the patient's repetitive thinking or behavior. The doctor will discuss with the patient in detail and choose the most suitable medication.

  • Psychotherapy
    Cognitive behavioral therapy was shown to improve the symptoms of OCD.

Medication and psychotherapy each have their own advantages. In some cases, we do need both to achieve the best therapeutic effect!


According to the Hong Kong Mental Morbidity Survey 2010-2013, the prevalence of OCD and other types of anxiety disorders among Chinese adults aged 16 to 75 is 1.5%. It happens equally in man and woman. The disease is more common in young people.

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