OBSESSIVE COMPULSIVE DISORDER
Most people have rituals they perform over and over.
Sometimes they may be meaningful, sometimes not. Rituals can
contribute a comforting familiarity to an unaccustomed
situation. Or, they may have a reassuring effect in times of
stress, a superstitious meaning that is highly personal or be
simply a habit repeated over and over so that it becomes a
normal part of daily life.
Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) involves repetitive
thoughts and behaviors at another order of magnitude. The
difference between OCD and normal behavior is the level of
anxiety involved and the lack of control the OCD sufferer has
over the repetitive thoughts or behavior.
People with OCD feel they can control their anxiety
only by performing the ritual. They realize their obsessions
and compulsions are irrational and excessive. Yet, they are
compelled to perform them. That’s why they’re called
Typical obsessions involve cleanliness and
contamination, fear of acting out violently, unreasonable
fears for the safety of others, abhorrent religious or sexual
thoughts, and preoccupation with order, symmetry and
Compulsions might involve washing, checking on things,
counting, arranging, hoarding, and “magical” behaviors
designed to reduce obsessive thinking and compulsive acting.
People with OCD aren’t crazy. But they often fear
others will think they are so they hide their problem. This
makes them less likely to seek treatment which could help
OCD is a biochemical problem which can be relieved with
medication and behavioral therapy. It usually begins in
adolescence or early adulthood but is also seen in children.
Some may outgrow it but for others it is a chronic problem
which recurs and is exacerbated by stress. It is thought
that one to three percent of the population may be affected
at some point in their lives.
For more info, contact OCFoundation.org or call them at