What is it?

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a psychiatric disorder characterized by repetitive, intrusive thoughts (termed obsessions) that bring a strong sense of anxiety and stress, together with an urge to perform specific actions for temporary relief (termed compulsions). About 1-2% of the population are estimated to have OCD. There is no single cause for OCD, and both genetic and environmental factors are involved.

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Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD).

Additional names

This group contains additional names:
- OCD Traits
- Intrusive thoughts

Signs & symptoms

repetitive, intrusive thoughts (obsessions) may include:
- Fear of infection and filth.
- Constant doubt.
- Intrusive, unwanted violent or sexual thought.
Repetitive actions that provide temporary relief (compulsions) include:
- Constant checking – whether the car is locked, whether the windows are closed, etc.
- Hand washing.
- Counting.
- Urge for symmetry.
Patients can have more than one obsession and compulsion. They are usually aware that their obsessions and compulsions are unreasonable, and they struggle against them.

Diagnosis

Diagnosis is made via a psychiatric assessment, conducted by a psychiatrist – a medical doctor specializing in psychiatry. This assessment includes questioning, physical exams, cognitive exams, and other tests that might exclude other diseases or conditions.

Treatment

Treatment for OCD includes psychotherapy and medication. Psychotherapy includes cognitive-behavioral therapy with gradual exposure to the obsessive thought and prevention of the compulsion (called exposure and response prevention). Medical treatment includes antidepressant medications.

☝️ This is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your physician before making any medical decision.

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