Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Explained


Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a type of anxiety disorder that affects the daily lives of many people. According to the Anxiety Disorders Association of America, “[a]nxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older”.

But what about OCD?

According to NorthShore University HealthSystem, “Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a type of mental illness that causes repeated unwanted thoughts. To get rid of the thoughts, a person does the same tasks over and over. For example, you may fear that everything you touch has germs on it. So to ease that fear, you wash your hands over and over again”.
Here are a few symptoms of OCD:

•    Constant, irrational worry about dirt, germs, or contamination.

•    Excessive concern with order, arrangement, or symmetry.

•    Fear that negative or aggressive thoughts or impulses will cause personal harm or harm to a loved one.

•    Preoccupation with losing or throwing away objects with little or no value.

•    Excessive concern about accidentally or purposefully injuring another person.

•    Feeling overly responsible for the safety of others.

•    Distasteful religious and sexual thoughts or images.

•    Doubting that is irrational or excessive

NorthShore University HealthSystem writes that although the cause of OCD is unknown, researchers suggest that there may be a problem with the way one part of the brain sends information to another…Not having enough of a brain chemical called serotonin may help cause the problem.

Treatment options include medicines and counseling. Using both often works best. Antidepressant medicines called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are most commonly used. Examples of these medicines include Prozac and Zoloft.

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