Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder characterized by recurrent, unwanted thoughts (obsession) and / or repetitive behaviors (compulsions). This type of irrational behavior is caused by unnecessary and invasive thoughts, which the sufferer has no control over. Incredibly, a majority of OCD sufferers are aware that their obsessive actions are completely illogical, but yet they are powerless to control themselves.
Obsessions behaviors shown in a sufferer:
• Constant, irrational worry about dirt, germs, or contamination;
• Excessive concern with order, arrangement, or symmetry;
• Fear that negative or aggressive thoughts or impulses will cause
personal harm or harm to a loved one;
• Preoccupation with losing or throwing away objects with little or
• Excessive concern about accidentally or purposefully injuring
• Feeling overly responsible for the safety of others;
• Distasteful religious and sexual thoughts or images;
• Doubting that is irrational or excessive;
Sufferers of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) typically have an irrational urge to repeatedly perform various ritualistic tasks and routines to ease their anxiety.
Ritualistic behaviors and routines sufferers do in order to ease anxiety or distress:
• Cleaning — Excessive hand washing, bathing, or cleaning
household items, often for hours at a time;
• Checking — Checking and re-checking several to hundreds of
times a day that the doors are locked, the stove is turned off,
the hairdryer is unplugged, etc.;
• Repeating — Inability to stop repeating a name, phrase, or simple
activity (such as going through a doorway over and over);
• Hoarding — Difficulty throwing away useless items such as old
newspapers or magazines, bottle caps, or rubber bands;
• Touching and arranging;
• Mental rituals — Endless reviewing of conversations, counting;
repetitively calling up “good” thoughts to neutralize “bad”
thoughts or obsessions; or excessive praying and using special
words or phrases to neutralize obsessions;
All this repetitive behavior is carried out by the OCD sufferers to help ease the persistent feelings of dread and anxiety. However, it only provides a temporary relief, and not performing them markedly increases anxiety.
Children can suffer from OCD as well. Unlike adults, however, children with OCD do not realize that their obsessions and compulsions are excessive.