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What is Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder?
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder is an anxiety disorder which is characterized by uncontrollable and unwanted intrusive thoughts or sensations(obsessions) paired with compulsive or repetitive behaviours(rituals) , such as hand washing, checking on things or cleaning which can significantly impair a person’s daily activities, social occupational and/or educational functioning. These compulsive behaviours or rituals are performed to alleviate the anxiety caused by the obsessions , or to try and make them go away. Although the rituals may relive the anxiety, the relief effect is only temporary and this will only reinforce the OCD cycle.
Many of us will readily admit that we have done things in the past that we may feel are a little obsessive or even compulsive, such as returning to check if a door is locked. It may also be common for us to experience intrusive thoughts that seem to enter our heads randomly and spontaneously, such as craving for ice cream. However, for those diagnosed with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), such thoughts are driven by intense feelings of anxiety that are different from what we experience. These thoughts and feelings can become so distressing and disabling for the sufferer that it that it impairs their daily social, occupational and/or educational functioning.