Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
A diagnosis of OCD requires the presence of obsessive, intrusive thoughts that are associated with focused-repetitive behaviors and rituals that are time-consuming (more than one hour a day), cause major anxiety, or distress, and impairs work, social or other important function.
Obsessions are recurrent and persistent thoughts, impulses, or images that cause distressing emotions such as anxiety or disgust if not acted upon. Many people with OCD recognize that the thoughts, impulses, or images are a product of their mind and are excessive or unreasonable. Yet these intrusive thoughts cannot be settled by logic or reasoning. Most people with OCD try to ignore or suppress such obsessions or offset them with some other thought or action. Typical obsessions include excessive concerns about contamination or harm, the need for symmetry or exactness, or forbidden sexual or religious thoughts.
Compulsions are repetitive rituals, behaviors or mental acts that a person feels driven to perform in response to or satisfy an obsession. The behaviors are aimed at preventing or reducing distress or a feared situation. In the most severe cases, a constant repetition of rituals, for example showering or eating may fill the day, making a normal routine impossible. Compounding the anguish these rituals cause is the knowledge that the compulsions are irrational. Although the compulsion may bring some relief to the worry, the obsession returns and the cycle repeats over and over.