Obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder characterized by intrusive thoughts that produce uneasiness, apprehension, fear, or worry, by repetitive behaviors aimed at reducing anxiety, or by a combination of such thoughts (obsessions) and behaviors (compulsions). Symptoms may include repetitive handwashing; extensive hoarding; preoccupation with sexual or aggressive impulses, or with particular religious beliefs; aversion to odd numbers; and nervous habits, such as opening a door and closing it a certain number of times before one enters or leaves a room. These symptoms can be alienating and time-consuming, and often cause severe emotional and financial distress. The acts of those who have OCD may appear paranoid and come across to others as psychotic. However, OCD sufferers generally recognize their thoughts and subsequent actions as irrational, and they may become further distressed by this realization.

OCD is the fourth-most-common mental disorder, and is diagnosed nearly as often as asthma and diabetes mellitus.[1] In the United States, one in 50 adults has OCD.[2] The phrase “obsessive–compulsive” has become part of the English lexicon, and is often used in an informal or caricatured manner to describe someone who is meticulous, perfectionistic, absorbed in a cause, or otherwise fixated on something or someone.[3] Although these signs may be present in OCD, a person who exhibits them does not necessarily have OCD, and may instead have obsessive–compulsive personality disorder (OCPD), an autism spectrum disorder, or no clinical condition. Multiple psychological and biological factors may be involved in causing obsessive–compulsive syndromes.

A typical person with OCD performs tasks, or compulsions, to seek relief from obsession-related anxiety. Within and among individuals, the initial obsessions, or intrusive thoughts, can vary in their clarity and vividness. A relatively vague obsession could involve a general sense of disarray or tension accompanied by a belief that life cannot proceed as normal while the imbalance remains. A more articulable obsession could be a preoccupation with the thought or image of someone close to them dying.[4][5] Other obsessions concern the possibility that someone or something other than oneself—such as God, the Devil, or disease—will harm either the person with OCD or the people or things that the person cares about. Others may sense that the physical world is qualified by certain immaterial conditions. These people might intuit invisible protrusions from their bodies,[6] or could feel that inanimate objects are ensouled.[6]

17 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Kim
    Dec 04, 2010 @ 13:24:02

    Albert Einstein Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.


  2. nancy
    Dec 04, 2010 @ 17:25:57

    Wow Kim! What an informative post. Thank you. Fear can precipitate so much in one’s lives. It is often the root of so many anxieties.


  3. Kim
    Dec 04, 2010 @ 17:27:17

    and too many mistakes


  4. nancy
    Dec 04, 2010 @ 17:33:31

    I have a cousin with OCD. He has not been able to find a solution for this compulsion and it hurts so much to see him go through this. Have you heard of anything that helps this condition. Thanks.


  5. Kim
    Dec 04, 2010 @ 17:39:28

    it depends on what he is dealing with – there are thousands of different compulsions


  6. nancy
    Dec 04, 2010 @ 18:14:37

    He’s always washing his hands and he also always thinks his wife is going to die and leave by himself. When I ask him why he thinks this he says that God is mad at him. I try to talk to him and pray with him but he still feels guilty about everything.


  7. Kim
    Dec 04, 2010 @ 18:20:38

    his hand washing is connected to him dying?


  8. nancy
    Dec 04, 2010 @ 18:26:37

    Sorry I didn’t explain it right. He is always washing his hands because he’s afraid of germs. But on top of this compulsion he fears that his wife is going to die soon and leave him by himself. He also feels that God is going to punish him for everything. He obsessively counts to certain numbers when doing certain tasks. As well as avoids numbers that he thinks are “bad.”


  9. Kim
    Dec 04, 2010 @ 18:34:41

    my best advice is for him to have a physical exam and then find a good therapist

    praying isn’t enough


  10. nancy
    Dec 04, 2010 @ 18:42:09

    I have advised him of this but he doesn’t have sufficient money for either one. The therapists he has contacted have been way too expensive not matter who he has called. He works a minimum wage job and cannot afford help. They have advised him it would take several sessions for his condition and he just cannot afford it. His dilemma is he has reached out but economically cannot do fulfill it. I have helped him with money but I cannot afford the high prices all these therapists are asking for. The only thing I do now is pray for him.


  11. Kim
    Dec 04, 2010 @ 18:53:02

    He can find a clinic to do the evaluation and provide him with a recommendation

    what state is he in


  12. nancy
    Dec 04, 2010 @ 18:56:34

    He is in Texas.


  13. Kim
    Dec 04, 2010 @ 19:00:59


    have him apply for a gold card and he will get what he needs


  14. nancy
    Dec 04, 2010 @ 19:03:16

    Thanks for all your help Kim. God Bless.


  15. Kim
    Dec 04, 2010 @ 19:04:01

    you are very welcome – I hope he follows through


  16. nancy
    Dec 04, 2010 @ 19:07:51

    I will make sure he does. Thanks.


  17. Kim
    Dec 04, 2010 @ 19:12:31



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