What is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder?
Some individuals, however, suffer with a special type of unwanted thought intrusion called obsessions. Obsessions are recurrent and persistent intrusivethoughts, images or impulses that are unwanted, personally unacceptable and cause significant distress. Even though a person tries very hard to suppress the obsession or cancel out its negative effects, itcontinues to reoccur in an uncontrollable fashion. Obsessions usually involve upsetting themes that are not simply excessive worries about real-life problems but instead are irrational concerns thatthe person often recognizes as highly unlikely, even nonsensical. The most common obsessional content involve (a) contamination by dirt or germs, (b) losing control and harming oneself or other people,(c) doubts about one’s verbal or behavioral responses, (d) repugnant thoughts of sex or blasphemy, (e) deviations from orderliness or symmetry, (f) the possibility of sudden sickness (e.g., fear ofvomiting), or (g) the need to save even the most useless objects.
Compulsions are repetitive, somewhat stereotypic behaviours or mental acts that the person performs in order to prevent or reduce thedistress or negative consequences represented by the obsession. Individuals may feel driven to perform the compulsive ritual even though they try to resist it. Typical compulsions include repetitiveand prolonged washing in response to fears of contamination, repeated checking to ensure a correct response, counting to a certain number or repeating a certain phrase in order to cancel out thedisturbing effects of the obsession. Over 90% of people with clinical OCD have both obsessions and compulsions, with 25% to 50% reporting multiple obsessions.
Depending on the severity of the symptoms, OCDcan have a profound negative impact on functioning. In severe cases, obsessive thoughts and repetitive, compulsive rituals can consume one’s entire day. Like other chronic anxiety disorders, OCD...
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