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Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Anxious woman biting her nails because of OCD

Obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD) is a common mental health disorder characterized by a need to act upon compulsions or perform rituals for no apparent reason. Although most of the behaviors are harmless, the urge to perform them can jeopardize a person’s employment, family relationships, and quality of life. Often, a person’s compulsion to perform OCD-related rituals and the stress that results when those urges remain unfulfilled supersede his or her personal responsibilities. Although OCD affects every individual differently, examples of OCD-related urges include:

  • The need to repetitiously monitor answering machines for messages or confirm alarm clock settings;
  • The need to organize objects categorically or in orientation to right angles;
  • The need to consume only specific foods; and
  • The need to avoid odd numbers in daily life.

Did you know . . .

In the United States, OCD affects about 1 in 40 adults and 1 in 100 children. According to the World Health Organization, OCD is a leading cause of illness-related disability for individuals 15–44 years old, yet can affect anyone at nearly any age. OCD is most prevalent among adults 18–44 years old, and its average age of onset is 19 years.

Frequently Asked Questions

Could I need treatment for OCD?

If you notice that you have an overwhelming but unexplained need to complete certain tasks or to experience life in a certain way, then you might suffer from OCD. Some types of OCD are incredibly minor and cause little interference, if any, in day-to-day life. However, if your symptoms cause you severe anxiety, disrupt your quality of life, or interfere with your work and personal relationships, then you should seek psychiatric evaluation immediately.

What should I expect during treatment for OCD?

After speaking with you, your doctor might conduct a series of tests to rule out the possibility of another mental illness. If you are diagnosed with OCD, then cognitive–behavioral therapy could help you to cope with your impulsive and obsessive tendencies and behaviors. Your doctor might also prescribe medication to make your OCD symptoms more manageable.

Will I need to make any lifestyle changes to facilitate my treatment for OCD?

Many individuals who suffer from OCD have a genetic predisposition to develop the disorder, and little can be done to avoid its onset. However, certain stimuli in a person’s environment can trigger the condition. If you are diagnosed with OCD, then your doctor might recommend that you make changes to your lifestyle or environment in an effort to pinpoint problematic factors.

If you want to learn more about obsessive–compulsive disorder and other common psychiatric conditions, then please call Compassion Mental Health Services today or visit our facilities to arrange a confidential mental health consultation.