About Treating Anxiety Disorders
About Treating Obsessive Compulsive Disorder - OCD
with obsessive-compulsive disorder have obsessions (recurrent,
intrusive thoughts, mental pictures, ideas, or impulses that
cause excessive anxiety or worry), compulsions (mental acts
or repetitive behaviors that are performed in response to obsessions
to neutralize anxiety or worry), or both. Most people with obsessive-compulsive
disorder suffer from both obsessions and compulsions.
common obsessions are:
(e.g., fear of dirt or germs; getting
Hoarding, Saving, Collecting
(e.g., concern with symmetry and
(e.g., fear of hurting or killing
someone, often a loved one)
common compulsions--also called "rituals"--are:
Cleaning and Washing
(e.g., washing hands, clothing,
bedding, or showering many times a day)
(e.g., checking a door repeatedly
to make sure it is locked)
(e.g., always turning a light switch
on and off 20 times),
(e.g., repeatedly counting
one's silverware to make sure all the pieces are there),
(e.g., ordering and arranging items in a certain, "exact"
Hoarding, Saving, and Collecting
most people can identify with many of these forms of OCD to
some extent, the obsessions of OCD usually have a specific
onset, produce significant discomfort and result in a powerful,
overwhelming urge to lessen or neutralize them. Obsessive-compulsive
disorder is characterized by obsessions and/or compulsions
that are distressing, time-consuming, and/or interfere with
normal routines, interpersonal relationships or daily functioning.
People with OCD are aware, at least at times, that their obsessions
and compulsions are not completely realistic and do not make
sense, but they find themselves unable to stop.
can be a debilitating disorder. Some people feel compelled
to perform rituals for hours at a time, which often interfere
with their ability to fulfill work, parenting, or other social
roles. Many people with OCD avoid situations that provoke
obsessive thoughts, and some become homebound. Often people
with OCD involve other family members in their compulsive
behaviors; for example, a mother may have her children engage
in elaborate washing rituals before they are allowed to enter
with OCD are typically ashamed and secretive about their obsessive
thoughts and compulsive behaviors, and many are successful
in hiding their condition from others for years. They may
fear they will be laughed at, that people will think they're
"odd" or "crazy," or that they will be
"locked up" in a mental institution." In addition,
people with OCD are frequently unaware that their symptoms
are part of a recognizable and treatable clinical condition.
For these reasons, the average time between onset of symptoms
and seeking professional help is 7.5 years.
disorder is a common problem. More than 8 million people in
the US can suffer from OCD during any given year. It is estimated
that 1 in 40 people will have OCD at some point during his
or her life.
exact causes of OCD are unknown. Genes play a role; however,
genes alone do not explain OCD. Learning and life stress also
appear to contribute to the disorder.