Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
People who suffer from Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) have recurrent and disturbing thoughts (obsessions), and/or ritualized, repetitive behaviors that the person feels driven to perform (compulsions). Obsessions can also take the form of intrusive images or unwanted impulses. The majority of people report both obsessions and compulsions and a minority have obsessions alone or compulsions alone. A feature of OCD is the need to actively dismiss or neutralize the obsessions by avoiding situations or engaging in compulsions.
In most cases, compulsions serve to decrease anxiety. Although people may recognize their obsessions and compulsions as being senseless and excessive, they feel the need to perform them.
The main types of obsessions and compulsions include:
- Contamination Disorder: fear of germs, dirt , sweats, soap, blood or illness and need for cleaning.
- Checking Disorder: fear for being responsible for a fire, for safety and harm. The person shows a significant need to control.
- Pure Obsessions: fear of unacceptable sexual or religious thoughts.
- Excessive Superstition: silent recitation of nonsense words, counting, repeating images and routine activities (going in/out of a doorway).
- Order and Symmetry: feeling the need for symmetry or exactness, need to rearrange things.
- Compulsive Hoarding: difficulty discarding items that appear to most people to have little or no value. The person shows a severe compulsion to accumulate things.