Overcoming OCD
Information for College Students

What Doesn’t Cause OCD?

People who have OCD didn’t do anything to cause it.  OCD is a neurobiological disorder, not a condition that is caused by actions or inaction.

Common misperceptions about the cause of OCD include:

  • STRESS.  Stress does not cause OCD, although sometimes symptoms begin after a severe trauma such as the death of a loved one.  Other stress triggers include the birth of a sibling, starting college, the beginning of a new school year, beginning to live with a roommate or changing roommates, marriage, divorce, a move to a new home or new community, or even a natural disaster, such as an earthquake. OCD symptoms may increase in times of stress, but the stress doesn’t cause OCD.
  • ILLNESS.  Childhood illnesses do not cause OCD, although some studies suggest that a strep infection may trigger the sudden onset of symptoms in children who are genetically predisposed to OCD.
  • PARENTING.  No evidence exists that would link OCD with the way parents guide or discipline their children.  Even the worst parenting doesn’t cause OCD.  Parents should not be blamed if you have OCD.

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