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Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

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Obsessive compulsive disorder is an anxiety disorder in which people have unwanted and repeated thoughts, feelings, ideas, sensations, or behaviour that make them feel driven to do something. Common activities include hand washing, counting of things, and checking to see if a door is locked. Some may have difficulty throwing things out. These activities occur to such a degree that the person's daily life is negatively affected.Often they take up more than an hour a day.Most adults realize that the behaviors do not make sense. The condition is associated with tics, anxiety disorder, and an increased risk of suicide.

Signs and Symptoms

Symptoms may include:

  • Obsessions or compulsions that are not due to medical illness or drug use
  • Excessive counting
  • Excessive fear of germs
  • Checking and rechecking actions


Several studies have shown that there are brain abnormalities in patients with OCD, but more research is needed. Some reports also suggest that OCD is related to head injury and infections.


OCD is generally treated using medications and therapy. The first medication usually considered is a type of antidepressant called a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI).

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) has been shown to be the most effective type of psychotherapy for this disorder.

Psychotherapy can also be used to:

  • Provide effective ways of reducing stress
  • Reduce anxiety
  • Resolve inner conflicts