Learn More About OCD

( Obsessive Compulsive Disorder )

Obsessive-compulsive disorders ( OCD ) afflict 2.4 million Americans.

People with OCD suffer with obsessions, which are repeated, intrusive, unwanted thoughts that cause distress and extreme anxiety.

They may also suffer with compulsions, which psychiatrists define as rituals--such as hand washing--that the person with the disorder goes through in an attempt to reduce his or her anxiety.

People who suffer from obsessive disorders do not automatically have compulsive behaviors. However, most people with compulsions also have obsessions.

Victims of obsessions are plagued with involuntary, persistent thoughts or impulses that are distasteful to them. Examples are thoughts of violence or of becoming infected by shaking hands with others.

These thoughts can be fleeting and momentary or they can be lasting ruminations that dominate a person's life.

The most common obsessions focus on a fear of hurting others or violating socially acceptable behavior standards such as swearing or making sexual advances.

They also can focus on religious or philosophical issues, which the patient never resolves.

People with compulsions go through senseless, repeated and involuntary ritualistic behaviors which they believe will prevent or produce a future event. However, the rituals themselves have nothing to do with that event.

Examples Of Compulsive Rituals Include:


For example, a person may constantly wash his or her hands or touch a particular object. Often, people with this disorder also suffer from a complementary obsession such as a worry over infection.

this affects women more often than men. If victims come in contact with any dirt, they may spend hours washing and cleaning even to the point that their hands bleed.

Repeating a Behavior:

such as repeatedly saying a loved one's name several times whenever that person comes up in conversation,


This tends to affect men more than women. For example, victims check and recheck that doors are locked or electric switches, gas ovens and water taps are turned off. Other patients will retrace a route they have driven to check that they did not hit a pedestrian or cause an accident without knowing it, or return repeatedly to a window to look out and make sure nobody is trying to peek into the house.

Obsessive-compulsive disorders often begin during the teens or early adulthood. Generally they are chronic and cause moderate to severe disability in their victims

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