Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder in which people have recurring, unwanted thoughts, ideas or sensations that make them feel driven to do something repetitively. Many people have focused thoughts or repeated behaviors, but these do not disrupt daily life and may add structure or may make tasks easier. Those with OCD have persistent and unwanted routines and behaviors that are rigid and not completing the task causes great distress. Many with OCD suspect their obsessions are not true and others may have poor insight and think they could be true. People with OCD, even if they know their obsessions are not true, have a difficult time keeping their focus off the obsessions or stopping the compulsive actions. OCD is often described as "a disease of doubt" as the sufferers experience "pathological doubt" because they are unable to distinguish between what is possible, what is probable, and what is unlikely to happen.

Obsessions are intrusive, irrational thoughts - unwanted ideas or impulses that repeatedly fill a person's mind. Trying to avoid such thoughts creates great anxiety.

Compulsions are repetitive rituals (handwashing, counting, checking, hoarding, or arranging). An individual repeats these actions without feeling satisfaction or a sense of completion. These individuals fear something bad will happen if they do not complete the ritual.

Treatment

OCD does not go away on its own and there is no cure. The first step is to see your doctor. An exam will show if your symptoms are the result of a physical issue. If the symptoms are not, your doctor can recommend a mental illness specialist (psychologist, psychiatrist, mental health counselor or social worker). Many suffering from OCD find that combining talk therapy and medication works best.