Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, or OCD as it is commonly referred to, is a chronic, prolonged disorder in which people struggle with overwhelming, recurring thoughts (obsessions) and behaviors (compulsions) that individuals need to repeat constantly.  OCD can manifest itself through symptoms with either obsessions or compulsions or the combination of both and these symptoms can be evident in any aspect of life whether at home, work or school.

Repeated thoughts or obsessions that can emerge as urges or mental images often cause anxiety in individuals.  Frequent symptoms of obsessions include an unnatural fear of germs or infection, undesirable thoughts about sex, religion or injury to self or others.  Additionally, many obsessions involve the need to keep all items in symmetrical order achieving a semblance of perfection either in self or in the items themselves.

Repeated behaviors or compulsions are a result of the obsessive thoughts with which individuals struggle and oftentimes these compulsions will show up as an inordinate need to clean items or arrange things in a particular manner. Or, individuals can find themselves checking on things within the household over and over to be sure a door is locked, the stove is off or other settings are in place.  Not all habits or routines can be considered as compulsions.  The key is the ability to control the compulsion; those that struggle with OCD cannot control their thoughts or behaviors even when they realize either or both are excessive.

Typically, most adults receive a diagnosis by the age of 19, but in some cases diagnosis can occur in middle age.  Risk factors for OCD consist of genetics and environment and treatment for OCD usually involves both medication and psychotherapy.  In many cases, those with OCD also encounter issues with anxiety and depression.  As with any medical issue, be sure to consult your physician for symptoms or concerns about Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

 

 


Source: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/obsessive-compulsive-disorder-ocd/index.shtml