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Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)


In OCD, individuals suffer recurring thoughts (obsessions) that reflect anxiety or fears, which may lead to ritual or routine (compulsions) such as hand washing, repeating phrases or hoarding-to relieve the obsession driven anxiety. Some common obsessions are as follows: thoughts of contamination; persistent doubts, for example, whether or not one has turned off the stove or locked the door; excessive orderliness; aggressive impulses or thoughts.

Compulsions are repetitive behaviors or rituals performed by the OCD sufferer, performance of these rituals neutralize the anxiety caused by obsessive thoughts--relief is temporary. Compulsions  mix into the person's daily routine and are not always directly related to the obsessive thought, for example, a person who has aggressive thoughts may count floor tiles in an effort to control the thought. Some of the most common compulsions involve the following: cleaning, showering or washing; checking on things; repeating a name, phrase or action; slowness with a methodical approach to daily activities, organizing and arranging; hoarding.

For an OCD diagnoses, the obsessions and/or compulsions must take up a considerable amount of the sufferer’s time, at least one hour every day, and interfere with normal routines, occupational or school functioning, social activities, or relationships. OCD can interfere with one's ability to concentrate, and a sufferer may tend to avoid certain situations, for example, someone who is obsessed with cleanliness may be unable to use public restrooms.

Onset of OCD is usually gradual and most often begins in adolescence or early adulthood. Unlike adults, children with OCD do not realize that their obsessions and compulsions, which are most often of the washing, checking, and ordering variety, are excessive.



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