Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

OCD is an anxiety disorder and is characterized by recurrent, unwanted thoughts (obsessions) and/or repetitive behaviors (compulsions). Performing these repetitive behaviors, commonly know as "rituals," provides only temporary relief, and not performing them markedly increases anxiety.

Signs & Symptoms:

  • Repetitive behaviors such as hand washing, counting, checking, or cleaning are often performed with the hope of preventing obsessive thoughts or making them go away.
  • A need to repeatedly check things, touch things (especially in a particular sequence).
  • Common obsessions include having frequent thoughts of violence and harming loved ones, persistently thinking about performing sexual acts the person dislikes, or having thoughts that are prohibited by religious beliefs.
  • Preoccupied with order and symmetry.
  • Have difficulty throwing things out - may hoard.

Causes and Other Illnesses:

  • May run in families
  • The problem can be accompanied by eating disorders, other anxiety disorders, or depression.
  • People with OCD may try to help themselves by avoiding situations that trigger their obsessions.
  • May use alcohol or drugs to calm themselves