What Is Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder?

From hoarding to hand-washing to forever checking the stove, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) takes many forms. It is an anxiety disorder that traps people in repetitive thoughts and behavioral rituals that can be completely disabling.

Surveys conducted by the National Institute of Mental Health show that 2 percent of the population suffers from OCD—that's more than those who experience other mental illnesses like schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and panic disorder. OCD might begin in childhood, but it most often manifests during adolescence or early adulthood. Scientists believe that both a neurobiological predisposition and environmental factors jointly cause the unwanted, intrusive thoughts and the compulsive behavior patterns that appease the unwanted thoughts.

Unless treated, the disorder tends to be chronic—lasting for years, even decades—although the severity of the symptoms may wax and wane over the years. Both pharmacological and behavioral approaches have proven effective as treatments; often a combination of both is most helpful.

Recent posts on OCD

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A Profound Experience With the Toilet

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Follow a young woman who struggles with anxiety & applies treatment principles to her everyday life. She engages Anxiety in a competition to win her life back.

What is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder?

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By Ralph Ryback M.D. on December 20, 2016 in The Truisms of Wellness
OCD is often misunderstood as a disorder that simply means being overly detailed or perfectionistic, when in fact this disorder can be debilitating for those who are affected.

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By Linda Esposito LCSW on December 06, 2016 in From Anxiety to Zen
The bizarre, random and irrational thoughts and behaviors are not that important when treating Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Here's what is.

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By Mark D. Griffiths Ph.D. on December 01, 2016 in In Excess
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Learning From Chris Sharma

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Misdiagnosis of a Behavioral Addiction

By Jon E. Grant, JD, MD, MPH, Brian L. Odlaug, PhD, MPH, and Samuel R. Chamberlain, MD, PhD on July 12, 2016 in Why Can't I Stop?
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By Mark D. Griffiths Ph.D. on July 07, 2016 in In Excess
Papers in psychiatric journals have claimed that many of the characters in the Star Wars movies have underlying psychopathologies including pathological gambling, OCD and ADHD

The More I Check, the Less Confident I Feel

By Seth J. Gillihan Ph.D. on June 23, 2016 in Think, Act, Be
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