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About Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder characterized by recurrent, unwanted thoughts (obsessions) and/or repetitive behaviors (compulsions).

Definition and Symptoms

OCD is a psychiatric disorder characterized by obsessive thoughts and compulsive actions, such as cleaning, checking, counting, or hoarding. These actions are irrational, distressing, and extremely difficult to overcome. OCD is a potentially disabling condition that can persist throughout a person’s life.

For most people, OCD is a chronic illness requiring lifetime management. For some, OCD symptoms produce extremely severe anxiety and distress. Severe OCD symptoms can be time-consuming and impact all areas of a person’s everyday life, including relationships and the ability to work or study.

Diagnosis

Only a trained healthcare provider can diagnose a person with OCD. The severity of the disease is typically measured on a numerical scale gauging the impact thoughts and actions have on daily life.

 

Information on this site should not be used as a substitute for talking with your doctor. Always talk with your doctor about diagnosis and treatment information.

Last updated: 18 Feb 2014

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