Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is characterized by unwanted and repeated thoughts, feelings, ideas, or sensations (obsessions), or behaviors that make you feel driven to do something (compulsions). Often people carry out the behaviors/compulsions to get rid of the obsessive thoughts, but this only provides temporary relief. For example, people with obsessive thoughts about germ contamination might wash their hands repeatedly, for hours on end, or people with repeated thoughts about harm might check their door lock repeatedly, check if the oven is off, or a wide range of other behaviors. Others hoard things that they don’t use or need, worried that something bad will happen if they throw things away. Still others worry that if things aren’t done just right, something terrible will happen or they will be punished. Not performing the obsessive rituals can cause great anxiety.
Therapy for OCD
In CBT, you are exposed many times to a situation that triggers the obsessive thoughts, and you gradually learn to tolerate the anxiety and resist the urge to perform the compulsion. For many cases, medication and CBT together are considered to be better than either treatment alone at reducing symptoms.
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