According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), approximately 1 percent of Americans have OCD.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder in which a person has an unreasonable thought, fear, or worry that he or she tries to manage through a ritualized activity to reduce the anxiety. Frequently occurring disturbing thoughts or images are called obsessions, and the rituals performed to try to prevent or dispel them are called compulsions.
Obsessions are irrational thoughts, fears, or worries that frequently recur and cause great anxiety, but cannot be controlled through reasoning. Common obsessions include the following:
Although an individual with an obsession realizes that the thoughts are unreasonable and not related to real-life problems, this knowledge is not enough to make the unwanted thoughts go away.
In an attempt to get rid of the obsessive thoughts, people with OCD engage in compulsive behavior.
Compulsions are repetitive, ritualized behaviors enacted to reduce anxiety caused by the obsession(s). Examples of compulsions include:
Compulsive behaviors can become excessive, disruptive, and time-consuming, and may interfere with daily activities and relationships.
OCD affects approximately 1 percent of American adults. OCD often begins in adolescence or early adulthood, but can also first occur in childhood. OCD affects men and women equally, and appears to run in families. It is not unusual for other anxiety disorders, depression, eating disorders, or substance abuse to accompany OCD. People may avoid situations in which they might have to confront their obsessions, or try unsuccessfully to use alcohol or drugs to calm themselves.
The disorder is diagnosed only when such activities:
Always see your doctor for a diagnosis.
Specific treatment for OCD will be determined by your doctor based on:
Treatment may include:
Click here to view the
Online Resources of Mental Health Disorders