Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is a common form of anxiety disorder. It involves distressing, repeating thoughts. OCD is very difficult to make sense of or to explain to others. Some people describe these thoughts as being like a stuck record. Trying to stop them can make them worse. Compulsions are actions which people feel they must repeat to feel less anxious or stop their obsessive thoughts. Compulsions commonly involve checking, cleaning, counting or dressing rituals.
There are different theories about why OCD develops. It can be based on previous experiences, especially during your childhood. Your personality type may be important. Perfectionists seem to be more prone to OCD.
Signs & Symptoms
Common obsessions include:
- fear of contamination
- fear of causing harm to someone else
- fear of behaving unacceptably
- need for symmetry or exactness.
Carrying out a ritual usually gives people temporary relief from their anxiety. At other times they can be full of doubt if they carried out the ritual properly and will repeat the ritual to get it right. This process can go on for hours.
There is no proven way to prevent OCD.
Treatment includes medication and psychotherapy. It may take long, but treatment is effective.