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  • Obsessive-Compulsive (OCD)

  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder in which people have

    recurring, unwanted thoughts, ideas or sensations.  These take the form of obsessions.

    Often these thoughts/obsessions will be negative, and this experience will cause the

    individual to perform an activity over and over. These behaviors are referred to as compulsions. These repetitive behaviors can take the form of:  hand-washing, checking on specific things or house cleaning, These compulsions will significantly interfere with daily activities and inhibit social interactions.

    Many people have focused thoughts or repeat certain behaviors. However these do not disrupt or interfere with their daily life.  In some situations, these behaviors may add structure or make a task easier. For those people with OCD, their thoughts are about persistent and unwanted routines.  These behaviors are rigid. Not performing the behavior may cause this individual great emotional distress. Many people with OCD know or might suspect their obsessions are untrue.  Others may think their thoughts could be true (this is known as poor insight). Even if they know their obsessions are not true, people with OCD have a hard time keeping their focus off the obsessions.  They may be unable to stop the compulsive actions. These compulsions may be triggered by certain situations that are stressful to the individual.

    A critical aspect of a diagnosis of OCD is the presence of obsessions and/or

    compulsions that are time-consuming (on average, more than one hour a day).

    They often cause intense distress.  This in turn usually impairs the individual’s work, or other social or  important functions. The percentage of Americans diagnosed with OCD is relatively small, only 1.2 percent of the population.  Among adults, there are slightly more women than men affected. OCD often begins in childhood, early adolescence or early adulthood. Sometimes these repetitive behaviors are a means of coping with stress.  In other instances, the behaviors develop over time. the average age symptoms appear is 19 years old.