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What is obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)?

A large portion of people diagnosed with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) report childhood onset of symptoms, which could lead to a range of ongoing anxiety disorders. A person can develop a range of compulsions or obsessions. For example, someone who has OCD can repeatedly check on things, need to organize things over and over, obsessively wash their hands or excessively clean their homes.

What are the symptoms of obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)?

OCD affects everyone differently: it causes severe anxiety in those affected, and involves both obsessions and compulsions which interfere with daily life.

Obsessions  such as persistent ideas, thoughts, impulses or images which are experienced as intrusive and inappropriate can cause marked anxiety or distress. The most common obsessions are repeated thoughts about contamination, repeated doubts, a need to have things in a particular order, aggressive or horrific impulses, or sexual imagery. Compulsions are the individual’s attempt to suppress such thoughts or impulses or to neutralize them with some other thought or action.

Symptoms may include:

  • Repetitive hand washing
  • Ordering or checking on things;
  • Repetitive mental acts, such as praying, counting, or repeating words silently.
  • Repetitive physical acts such as repeating steps, turning lights on and off, opening and closing doors, drawers multiple times.

Can you relate to celebrity Howie Mandel's struggles?

You may be aware of the celebrity Howie Mandel’s struggle with OCD. ABC News, 20/20 talks with Mandel about living with OCD.

If you feel you are affected by OCD, Dr. Michael Dadson will review a recommend therapy program to meet your needs.

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