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Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: Symptoms and Behaviors
By: Beth McHugh 2007
As noted in What is Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder?, this condition in its most severe form is one of the most distressing conditions of all mental illnesses. OCD varies in severity, but in it most serious form, the suffer will usually also suffer from generalized anxiety disorder (an all-pervasive, yet unspecific fear), panic attacks, avoidance of certain places and situations, together with major depression.
The “obsessive” part of OCD refers to the constant stream of intrusive thoughts and images which bombard the sufferer’s mind, which despite the best attempts by the sufferer, are almost impossible to eliminate. The “compulsive” component of the disorder is the actions used to help suppress the intrusive thoughts and images to provide relief from constant anguish. In our previous example featuring Kathleen, the repeated door rattling comprises the compulsive component of the disorder, and the thoughts that drive her to perform this act, the obsessive part.
Clinically, obsessions are defined as:
The person with OCD recognized that their actions are excessive and unreasonable and not in accordance with the general population. This does not apply to children with the disorder.
The obsessions and compulsions cause distress and /or significantly interfere with the daily life of the sufferer, including their daily routine, social interaction, and job performance.
If you or a family member or friend suffers from OCD, treatment is
available from therapists who specialize in OCD and other forms of anxiety
disorders. With this particular disorder, recovery is seldom achievable
without some form of medical intervention.
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