Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), formally considered an anxiety disorder, is now regarded as its own unique condition. OCD causes the sufferer a great deal of stress and anxiety, in both their daily lives and their relationships. The true mark of OCD is the level at which the sufferer’s life is interfered with and hindered by the reoccurring thoughts (obsessions) and/or behaviours (compulsions), that both cause and soothe their feelings of anxiety. The treatment for OCD ranges from different medications to psychotherapy, with a combination of the two often being used that best suits the sufferer’s needs. For the sake of straightforwardness, this website has placed Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder within its previous category of Anxiety Disorders.
Obsessive-Compulsive disorder is a severe and disabling condition, made up of either obsessive thoughts, compulsive ritual behaviours, or both. The symptoms of OCD are as follows:
Obsessions within Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder are made up of four essential components, which must be present for the patient to be considered to have OCD.
Examples for obsessive thoughts include unwanted thoughts of harming loved ones, fears of having not turned off appliances, fears of being unclean or contaminated, and intrusive sexual or violent thoughts that the person doesn’t want.
Compulsions are repetitive actions (door locking or hand washing) or mental acts (counting or praying) that the sufferer feels they must do in response to their obsession.
For the sufferer, the compulsions act to sooth the anxiety caused by the obsessions, and gives them a sense of relief. They often believe that in acting out these compulsions they can prevent some dreaded event. However, these actions are excessive and do not realistically connect with what they are intended to do.
Recent research has found that OCD sufferers tend to have obsessions and compulsions that have been categorized into 5 main groups:
To find out how Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder is treated, go to OCD Treatment page