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What Happens To Untreated OCD & When To Go To Doctor For It?

OCD or obsessive-compulsive disorder is a mental illness that compels the patient to have obsessive behaviors or compulsive actions due to the constant flow of irrational thoughts and fears. Its causes are not clear. It is assumed that genetic inheritance, environmental factors, and biological factors are risk factors. It usually develops in women more than men. Women after delivery are more likely to develop such mental illness. It is a chronic disorder that can interfere with daily life involving job, relationship, social life, and even self-esteem. It cannot be diagnosed by any test, such as blood tests, X-ray, etc.

What Happens To Untreated OCD?

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a common mental illness characterized by the experience of repeated and persistent obsessions or compulsions that cannot be avoided. It always interferes with the daily life of the affected person. It is represented by recurrent, excessive or unwarranted thoughts or worries that disturb the person’s normal thinking. Its causes are not clear.(3)

OCD usually starts in the teenage or young adult age. Symptoms typically develop gradually, and it varies in severity throughout life. Symptoms aggravate more when the patient experiences more significant stress in life. OCD is a lifelong disorder that may represent mild to moderate symptoms or sometimes severe. It is often time-consuming that renders disabling feelings.(2)

This disorder presents major disruptions at work, school, career, and relationships. If OCD is left untreated, it is often leads to difficulties in maintaining a job, intimate relationship, or even friendships.(2)

When it is left untreated, OCD will lead to problems among others such as-

  • Health issues, such as contact dermatitis resulted from frequent hand-washing
  • Inability to concentrate on work, school or social activities
  • Troubled relationships
  • Overall degraded quality of life
  • Suicidal thoughts and behavior(2)

It can be understood by following-

Mental Complications- Mental obsessive-compulsive disorder problems can lead to depression, panic disorder, suicidal thoughts, and other anxiety disorders. Children with OCD, unlike adults, may not realize the intensity of the symptoms and their impact on society. The patient develops frustration of being unable to control their thoughts and actions that can lead to developing these mental problems. About 80% of people with OCD develop depression, resulting in issues related to work, job, relationship, etc. it is estimated that 1% of people with OCD have suicidal thoughts and commit suicide.(1)

Physical Complications- People with the obsessive-compulsive disorder develop long term physical complications such as who wash their hands frequently may experience contact dermatitis or skin inflammation, and some develop eating disorders, such as bulimia and anorexia.(1)

When To Go To A Doctor For OCD?

OCD compels the patient to make rules or rituals in his daily practices to follow. It would help the patient to control the anxiety or fears when he is occupied by obsessive thoughts. These compulsions are excessive and unavoidable and often are unrealistic regarding the real problem.(2)

The patient exhibits some of the compulsive actions, such as:

  1. Washing and cleaning
  2. Checking
  3. Orderliness
  4. Counting Demanding reassurances
  5. Following a strict routine(2)

When such symptoms and thoughts are excessive, that intervenes with flawless results or performance, and the patient might have OCD. OCD thoughts are not merely excessive worries or stress regarding real problems in life. If such obsessions and compulsions are influencing the quality of life, then it is the right time to approach an experienced mental health professional.(2)


If OCD is left untreated it causes physical complications like contact dermatitis due to frequent washing, bulimia due to overeating and psychological difficulties like depression, panic disorders, anxiety disorders, etc. When you observe recurrent symptoms of OCD that interrupt your daily life, then you should visit a medical health professional.


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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:January 20, 2020

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