Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

People with OCD experience the presence of obsessions and compulsions. Obsessions are intrusive, frequent, unwanted and uncontrollable thoughts, images, or impulses that are difficult to ignore and cause marked distress and anxious symptoms in the individual. In addition, OCD involves the repetitious behaviors or routines, referred to as compulsions or rituals, which are performed to try to reduce the anxiety associated with obsessive thoughts. OCD may look slightly different for each person, and many people have combinations of different types of compulsive symptoms, such as checking, counting, or hand washing. Certain themes are common, including cleaning to decontaminate, arranging and ordering objects, thinking forbidden or taboo thoughts, fear of harm and compulsive checking, and even hoarding behavior. Additionally, situations which trigger the obsessions and compulsions may produce a range of emotional responses and expressions.

Most adults with OCD are aware that their obsessions and compulsions may be irrational and may stem from dysfunctional beliefs but are unable to control them. Individuals with OCD may vary in their insight about the beliefs that underlie their OCD symptoms. OCD is associated with reduced quality of life. For many individuals with OCD, the time spent obsessing and the time spent doing compulsive routines become so lengthy that a person is unable to fulfill duties of life, such as work, school, family, and routine activities. 


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