Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is a condition characterized by repeated and unwanted thoughts and urges (obsessions) and/or repetitive behaviors (compulsions). The persistent thoughts and repetitive behaviors are time-consuming and prevent individuals from focusing on daily activities and social interactions.

Overview and Symptoms

Anxiety is one of the most common symptoms of OCD. An individual’s worries may stem from fears of acting on intrusive thoughts about, for instance, sex or religion. Or, anxiety may be brought about from the belief that if a task is not completed — washing one’s hands five times in a row, for example — something bad may happen.

Treatment

If obsessions and compulsions are preventing one from leading a normal life, the individual should seek treatment; in fact, without treatment, the condition may worsen. While there is no cure for OCD, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and/or medications are generally the most effective treatments.

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Psychiatry