Mental Health Disorders

How does obsessive-compulsive disorder differ from obsession?
Answered by Discovery Fit & Health
  • Discovery Fit & Health

    Discovery Fit & Health

  1. Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a serious anxiety disorder that involves involuntary, uncontrollable obsessive behaviors and fears that a person develops. People with OCD perform ritual actions - such as washing hands again and again, or counting things over and over in their minds - as a response to obsessive thoughts that cause feelings of fear, lack of control and insecurity. They may be obsessed with symmetry, order and cleanliness, or they may be hoarders. Many people have rituals; the difference is that people with OCD perform these rituals repetitively, uncontrollably and with a great deal of anxiety underlying their actions.

    Some people with OCD are embarrassed by their conditions so they don't seek treatment, or they may not admit that they have OCD [source: Men's Health]. Antidepressants may be used to treat the disorder. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is used along with medication when medication is not enough. CBT is a psychotherapy technique that focuses on behavioral modification aimed at changing destructive behaviors and reducing anxiety. CBT uses techniques that confront patients with their obsessions and tries to help them avoid obsessive thoughts and ritual actions, making them aware of how the thoughts have no bases in reality [source: New York Times]. For some people with OCD, these therapies are not enough, and they may require temporary hospitalizations.

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