Stop avoiding the cracks in the pavement and read this.
What is it?
Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) has two parts; obsessions and compulsions. The obsession is an unwanted and irrational thought, often some kind of phobia, that keeps coming back. The compulsion is a ritual that is repeated to get rid of the unpleasant thoughts, and reduces the anxiety that the obsession brings on.
We all have mild obsessions and compulsions ("Did I really lock the back door? Hmm, better go and check"), but OCD is an extreme form and starts to interfere with having a normal life.
What are the signs?
Common obsessions include fears of dirt, contamination, illnesses such as Aids or cancer, being trapped, or family members being hurt or killed. Hours can be spent performing rituals such as hand washing, cleaning, checking, or counting.
Is treatment needed?
If the OCD is interfering with everyday life, the answer is yes. Getting help for the disorder means a person will have less anxiety and depression. Cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) can be very helpful in allowing someone to cope better with unpleasant thoughts and modify their behaviour. Some medicines can also be prescribed for OCD. Start by contacting your family doctor.
Many thanks to Dr Ghazala Afzal and Florence Nightingale Hospitals for their help with this article.
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