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Obsessive-compulsive disorder ( OCD) Symptom


Obsessive compulsive disorder, or OCD, involves anxious thoughts or rituals you feel you can't control. The patient's history may also reveal the presence of compulsions, which are irrational and recurring impulses to repeat a certain behavior. Common compulsions include repetitive touching, sometimes combined with counting; doing and undoing (for instance, opening and closing doors or rearranging things); washing (especially hands); and checking (to be sure no tragedy has occurred since the last time she checked). In many cases, the patient's anxiety is so strong that she'll avoid the situation or the object that evokes the impulse.

When the obsessive-compulsive phenomena are mental, observation may reveal no behavioral abnormalities. However, compulsive acts may be observed. feelings of shame, nervousness, or embarrassment may prompt the patient to try limiting these acts to her own private time.

If you have OCD, you may be plagued by persistent, unwelcome thoughts or images, or by the urgent need to engage in certain rituals.

  • You may be obsessed with germs or dirt, so you wash your hands over and over.
  • You may be filled with doubt and feel the need to check things repeatedly.
  • You may have frequent thoughts of violence, and fear that you will harm people close to you.
  • You may spend long periods touching things or counting;
  • you may be pre-occupied by order or symmetry;
  • you may have persistent thoughts of performing sexual acts that are repugnant to you; or
  • you may be troubled by thoughts that are against your religious beliefs.

A lot of healthy people can identify with some of the symptoms of OCD, such as

  • Checking the stove several times before leaving the house. But for people with OCD, such activities consume at least an hour a day, are very distressing, and interfere with daily life.
  • Most adults with this condition recognize that what they're doing is senseless, but they can't stop it.
  • Some people, though, particularly children with OCD, may not realize that their behavior is out of the ordinary.

Diagnosis information

For characteristic findings in patients with this condition, see Diagnosing OCD, page 374. Coexisting disorders, such as depression, ADHD, and eating, personality, or anxiety disorders, can make OCD more difficult to diagnose. Although there's no laboratory test that diagnoses OCD, the disorder usually causes severe distress and interferes with a person's normal routine,work, social activities, and relationships.

Depression or other anxiety disorders may accompany OCD, and some people with OCD also have eating disorders. In addition, people with OCD may avoid situations in which they might have to confront their obsessions, or they may try unsuccessfully to use alcohol or drugs to calm themselves. If OCD grows severe enough, it can keep someone from holding down a job or from carrying out normal responsibilities at home.

Obsessive compulsive disorder OCD generally responds well to treatment (OCD) with medications or carefully targeted psychotherapy.

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