What is OCD?

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a neurobehavioral disorder that involves obsessions and compulsions that are time consuming, cause significant distress, and interfere with daily routines or relationships.  Obsessions are recurrent, persistent thoughts, ideas, images, or impulses that are intrusive, unwanted, and cause distress, anxiety, or in some cases disgust.  Compulsions are intentional physical behaviors or mental acts that are performed to reduce or prevent the unwanted feelings and feared outcomes. Compulsions are often referred to as “safety behaviors”.  Additionally, many people who suffer with OCD frequently engage in avoidance behavior to try to prevent obsessions and compulsions.  While avoidance may prevent anxiety in the short term, it generally only serves to worsen the OCD cycle over time.   Although common themes exist in OCD, each person’s OCD diagnosis looks different and needs to be treated with an individualized treatment plan.