OCD: Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

If you’ve ever watched an episode of the USA television show “Monk” you might think that OCD is simply something that indicated a certain quirkiness to your character. The truth is there is always more to it than that.

The key to Obsessive/Compulsive Disorder is found in the letters OCD. It is a disorder that involves both obsessions and compulsions.


Individuals with OCD struggle first with obsessions. These are ideas (often fears) that the individual can’t seem to stop thinking about. What may seem like a small idea suddenly becomes amplified in the mind of the one who has OCD to the point where everything else becomes a distraction from thinking about their obsession.


The compulsive part of OCD comes into play when the mind has had significant time to obsess about an idea. The body then reacts in a compulsive way to develop a ritual that can help relieve the anxiety of the obsession. One of the most common obsessions is germs. A mind can think of the dangers of germs long enough that the compulsive habit that develops may be a frequent washing of the hands.

OCD Sufferers Do Not Want To Be OCD Sufferers

Most people who have OCD would like nothing more than to simply stop thinking about the object of their obsession. They would love to be free from the compulsion to do something that temporarily assures them they are safe. However, the combination in OCD makes it very difficult to eliminate the anxiety that allows this disorder to consume more time and life than anyone wants to spend.

It is possible that for those who live with OCD there can be two full weeks each year (24-hours a day) dedicated to the rituals designed to allow compulsive behavior to offset obsessive tendencies. The end result is often more obsession followed by more compulsion followed by more obsession – and it just keeps going unless help is accepted.

Some OCD Facts

According to the National Institute for Mental Health (NIMH), “OCD affects about 2.2 million American adults, and the problem can be accompanied by eating disorders,6 other anxiety disorders, or depression. It strikes men and women in roughly equal numbers and usually appears in childhood, adolescence, or early adulthood. One-third of adults with OCD develop symptoms as children, and research indicates that OCD might run in families.”

Dangerous Side Effects

One of the most common side effects for OCD is depression. This is generally brought on when a person feels as if there is no way for them to ever break the cycle. This belief can also contribute to drug and alcohol addiction as a means of lessening the impact of OCD.

OCD Treatment

This disorder can be treated with drugs, but in most cases a therapist may be best suited to help work through the issues related to your obsession. If that can be effectively dealt with the compulsions may go away on their own.

The NIMH suggests, “The practitioners who are most helpful with anxiety disorders are those who have training in cognitive-behavioral therapy and/or behavioral therapy.” They further indicate that most health plans cover anxiety disorders.

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