Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder and is characterized by recurrent, unwanted thoughts (obsessions) and/or repetitive behaviors (compulsions). As many as 1 in 50 adults in the United States may have OCD.
Definition and Symptoms
OCD is a psychiatric disorder characterized by obsessive thoughts and compulsive actions, such as cleaning, checking, counting, or hoarding. These actions are irrational, distressing, and extremely difficult to overcome. OCD is a potentially disabling condition that can persist throughout a personís life. For most people, OCD is a chronic illness requiring lifetime management. For some, OCD symptoms produce extremely severe anxiety and distress. Severe OCD symptoms can be time-consuming and impact all areas of a personís everyday life, including relationships and the ability to work or study.
Only a trained healthcare provider can diagnose a person with OCD. The severity of the disease is typically measured on a numerical scale gauging the impact thoughts and actions have on daily life.