Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, OCD, is an anxiety disorder and is
characterized by recurrent, unwanted thoughts (obsessions) and/or repetitive
behaviors (compulsions). Repetitive behaviors such as handwashing, counting,
checking, or cleaning are often performed with the hope of preventing obsessive
thoughts or making them go away. Performing these so-called "rituals," however, provides only temporary relief, and not performing them markedly increases
People with OCD may be plagued by persistent, unwelcome thoughts or
images, or by the urgent need to engage in certain rituals. They may be obsessed
with germs or dirt, and wash their hands over and over. They may be filled
with doubt and feel the need to check things repeatedly.
Effective treatments for obsessive-compulsive disorder are available,
and research is yielding new, improved therapies that can help most people
with OCD and other anxiety disorders lead productive, fulfilling lives.
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