What is Obsessive Compulsive Order (OCD)?
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a mental health disorder which affects people of all ages and walks of life, and occurs when a person gets caught in a cycle of unwanted thoughts (obsessions) which prompt repetitive behaviors (compulsions).
Obsessionsare repeated thoughts, urges, or mental images that cause anxiety. Many who suffer with OCD realize that these thoughts which occupy their minds are unreasonable, but still they persist. Common examples include:
- Fear of germs or contamination
- Unwanted forbidden or taboo thoughts involving sex, religion, and harm
- Aggressive thoughts towards others or self
- Needing things to be symmetrical or in a perfect order
Compulsions are repetitive behaviors or mental acts that a person with OCD feels the urge to do in response to their obsessive thoughts. Although the compulsive behavior may bring some temporary and measured relief to the worry, the obsession returns and the cycle repeats itself over and over. In very severe cases, the constant repetition of these behaviors can fill the day, making a normal routine impossible. Common examples include:
- Excessive cleaning and/or handwashing
- Ordering and arranging things in a particular, precise way
- Repeatedly checking on things, such as whether the door is locked or the oven is off
- Compulsive counting
Not all rituals or habits are compulsions. Everyone double checks things from time to time. But a person with OCD can’t control their thoughts or behaviors, even when those thoughts or behaviors are recognized as excessive. For a diagnosis of OCD to be made, this cycle of obsessions and compulsions becomes so extreme that it consumes a lot of time and gets in the way of important activities that the person values.
OCD sufferers can experience significant difficulties in their daily lives.
2.4% of the American population experiences OCD. With the right help and resources, you can enjoy a life free of these obsessive fears and compulsive responses. You can be free from this cycle.