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Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Marilyn Folk BScN medical reviewer
Written by: Jim Folk.
Medically reviewed by: Marilyn Folk, BScN.
Updated: May 11, 2019

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) information:

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a category within the over-arching classification of Anxiety Disorders.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder involves anxious thoughts or rituals the individual feels they must do or can’t control. Individuals with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder may be plagued by persistent, unwelcome thoughts or images, or by the urgent need to engage in certain rituals like repeatedly washing their hands, repeatedly checking things, counting things, organizing things, and so on.

They may have relentless thoughts of violence or a fear that they may hurt someone they love or are close to. They may have a continual desire to touch things, to symmetrically organize things, repeated thoughts of sexual acts that are repugnant to them, or maybe troubled by thoughts that are against their religious beliefs.

These disturbing thoughts or images are called obsessions, and the rituals that are performed to try to get rid of them are called compulsions. There is no pleasure in doing the rituals, but only temporary relief from the anxiety that builds when they don’t perform them.

A lot of healthy people can identify with some Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder symptoms, such as checking to make sure the door is locked when going to bed or leaving home, or double and often triple checking to make sure the iron is off. Individuals with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, however, spend hours doing this, and are very distressed because it interferes with their daily life.

Most individuals with this condition recognize that what they are doing is senseless, but they feel they can’t stop themselves. Some people, however, don’t recognize that their behavior is out of the ordinary.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder affects approximately 4% of the population and it equally affects both men and women. One third of adults with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder report having experienced their first symptoms as children. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder can come and go over time, as well as it can ease or grow worse with age.

Depression and other anxiety disorders often co-occur with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. Like other anxiety disorders, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder can be successfully resolved.

For more information on Anxiety Disorders.

For more information on Anxiety Symptoms.

For more information on Anxiety Attacks.

For more information on Anxiety.

With effective treatments today, including good self-help information and therapy, anyone can return to normal health from Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.

The combination of good self-help information and working with an experienced anxiety disorder therapist is the most effective way to address anxiety disorder and its many symptoms. Until the core causes of anxiety are addressed - the underlying factors that motivate apprehensive behavior - a struggle with anxiety disorder can return again and again. Identifying and successfully addressing anxiety's underlying factors is the best way to overcome problematic anxiety.

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Additional Resources:

anxietycentre.com: Information, support, and coaching/counseling/therapy for problematic anxiety and its sensations and symptoms, including information about Obsessive Compulsive Disorder OCD.