There is no one answer to the question of what causes ocd to get worse, as everyone’s symptoms are different. However, it is known that people with untreated OCD can experience their symptoms getting progressively worse over time, and that it is very common for OCD to become unmanageable in the face of a triggering life event or change. In fact, many people who seek treatment for OCD find their symptoms are reduced and manageable with the right treatment plan.
OCD is a condition that involves intrusive thoughts and compulsions. Obsessions are recurring, unwanted thoughts or impulses that cause distress, and compulsions are the repetitive actions someone feels obligated to do in order to decrease the anxiety of their obsessions. Common compulsions include checking, counting, and cleaning. People with OCD can experience a variety of different types of obsessions, such as fear of contamination, harm to others or themselves, or unwanted thoughts and images.
It is also possible that certain medications can make OCD symptoms worse, and it is important to consult with a doctor if you are concerned your symptoms are getting worse or if you are noticing other changes in your behavior or mood. People with comorbid conditions like anxiety disorders are more likely to have their OCD symptoms worsen, and people who are not sleeping well can also experience a flare up of their OCD.
In addition, OCD can get worse when people are undergoing a major life change or stressor, and this is particularly true if that person’s OCD is related to the fear of not being able to cope. OCD can also be made worse if it is paired with other mental health conditions, called comorbidities, such as ADD/ADHD, an eating disorder, or social anxiety disorder.