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Understanding Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

WHAT IS OBSESSIVE COMPULSIVE DISORDER (OCD)?

OCD is characterized by recurrent, unwanted and unpleasant thoughts (obsessions), and/or repetitive, ritualistic behaviors, which the person feels driven to perform (compulsions). People with OCD know their obsessions and compulsions are irrational or excessive, yet find they have little or no control over them.

Typical obsessions: Dirt, germs and contamination; fear of acting on violent or aggressive impulses; feeling overly responsible for the safety of others--for example, unreasonable fear of having run over someone with a car; abhorrent religious (blasphemous) and sexual thoughts; inordinate concern with order, arrangement, or symmetry, inability to discard useless or worn out possessions.

Typical compulsions: Excessive washing (particularly handwashing or bathing), cleaning, checking and repetitive actions such as touching, counting, arranging, or hoarding.

Other possible symptoms: People with OCD may become demoralized or depressed. Feelings ...

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