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What Causes OCD to Get Worse?

    Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is an illness that affects millions of people worldwide. It is characterized by uncontrollable, reoccurring thoughts and behaviors that interfere with daily functioning. While there is no cure for OCD, there are treatments available to help reduce the symptoms and improve the quality of life.

    While it can be managed through medication and therapy, there are certain things that can cause OCD to worsen. In this blog post, we’ll take an in-depth look at what causes OCD to get worse and how to cope with the symptoms. 

    There are a variety of factors that can contribute to an increase in the severity of OCD symptoms. These include stress, genetics, traumatic events, and changes in medication or dosages. 


    Stress is one of the biggest culprits when it comes to worsening OCD symptoms. The body’s response to stress—increased heart rate, shallow breathing, and feelings of anxiety—can trigger obsessions and compulsions in those with OCD. This is because anxiety increases the likelihood of obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors become more frequent and severe.

    Having an effective stress management plan in place can help keep your OCD symptoms under control. To help manage your stress levels, try engaging in activities such as yoga or meditation. 


    Genetics may also play a role in the severity of someone’s OCD symptoms. Studies have shown that people with a family history of mental illness have an increased risk of developing the obsessive-compulsive disorder. If you have a family history of mental illness, it’s important to be aware of any potential signs or symptoms associated with OCD so that you can seek help if needed.

    Traumatic Events

    Traumatic events such as extreme physical violence or sexual assault may also trigger an increase in OCD symptoms. Triggers are events or situations that remind us of past traumatic experiences, which can lead to increased levels of anxiety and fear which then leads to more severe obsessive thoughts and compulsions. If you’ve experienced trauma like this, it’s important to seek professional help right away so that you can begin managing your symptoms effectively. Cognitive behavioral therapy is often used as a treatment for PTSD due to its ability to reduce intrusive thoughts and compulsive behaviors related to traumatic events.

    Lack of Treatment

    One of the main reasons why many individuals experience worsening OCD symptoms is due to a lack of treatment or inadequate treatment options being sought out by those suffering from the disorder. The right combination of psychotherapy, medications, lifestyle changes, etc., can make all the difference when it comes to managing one’s OCD symptoms, yet many individuals do not seek out these treatments because they feel ashamed or embarrassed about their condition.

    By recognizing the importance of seeking out professional help for one’s mental health issues and taking steps towards actively managing their disorder, individuals with OCD can ensure that their symptoms do not worsen over time. 

    Changes in Medication

    Changes in medication or dosages could also cause your OCD symptoms to worsen over time. When starting a new medication regimen or adjusting the dosage of existing medications, it’s important to monitor your progress closely and speak with your doctor if you notice any changes in your behavior or moods that could signal a worsening condition. Working closely with your doctor is key for the successful management of your condition over time. 

    OCD can be managed through medication, lifestyle changes, and cognitive behavioral therapy but there are certain things that can cause its symptoms to worsen over time. Stressful situations, genetic predispositions, traumatic events, and changes in medications are all potential triggers for increased symptoms associated with obsessive-compulsive disorder.

    It’s important for those living with OCD—and their loved ones—to be aware of these triggers so they know how best to cope when they arise. If you think you might have OCD or if you notice any sudden changes in behavior related to this disorder, don’t hesitate to reach out for help from a qualified mental healthcare professional right away!