Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder is a psychological disorder that affects an estimated 1 out of 40 people in the United States.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder marked by obsessions and compulsions that the patient realizes are senseless and irrational. These obsessions and compulsions often interfere with everyday life and can be debilitating in the most severe cases.

What are obsessions and compulsions? The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) identifies obsessions as “unwanted ideas or impulses.” Obsessions range from beliefs that harm may come to self or family members, to a fear of becoming ‘dirty,’ to a need to do things to the utmost perfection.

Compulsions, on the other hand, are the physical responses to obsessions. For example, if an OCD patient has an intense fear of becoming dirty, he or she may wash his/her hands constantly. NIMH has also identified list making, mentally repeating phrases, counting, ritually repeating behaviors, and rearranging objects so as to look ‘perfect’ and aligned.

OCD can be a crippling psychological disorder. If untreated, OCD can destroy an individual as well as the family. But with intensive psychological therapy, and perhaps medication, the OCD patient can usually get the obsessions and compulsions under control.

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