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Obsessive Compulsive Disorder - Definition and Symptoms of Obsessive Compulsive


Updated May 05, 2009

Definition: Obsessive compulsive disorder is classified as an anxiety disorder. People with obsessive compulsive disorder typically have repetitive, intrusive thoughts that are usually unwanted and may be disturbing to the person. Obsessive compulsive disorder may also involve frequent compulsive urges to perform behaviors such as checking multiple times to make sure a door is locked or that a stove is turned off. People with obsessive compulsive disorder find it difficult, if not impossible, to stop their intrusive thoughts or not to act on their compulsions.

Obsessive compulsive disorder may also cause people to engage in repetitious behavior that appears pointless to the observer. The repeated behaviors are the person's attempt to cope with the intrusive thoughts and compulsions of obsessive compulsive disorder. Excessive hand washing, for example, is a type of repetitive behavior that may be caused by intrusive thoughts of germs on a person's hands. The difference between normal self-care and compulsive hand washing is in the frequency and degree. Some with obsessive compulsive disorder have been known to wash their hands until they bleed.

Obsessive compulsive disorder is typically treated with a combination of therapy and psychotropic medication.

Also Known As: Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is also called OCD.
Obsessive compulsive disorder may cause a person to be late for work because of a compulsive need to check to see that the door to her home is locked.

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