Anxiety Disorders Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder associated with unreasonable thoughts and fears (obsessions) that lead to repetitive behaviors (compulsions) to relieve the anxiety or discomfort of the thought. Obsessive thoughts can range from the loss of control, to ideas about religion, or trying to keep things in order or clean. The compulsive behavior that accompanies the thoughts can manifest itself as repetitive rituals such as constantly washing hands, maintaining order, skin picking, or ticks. Individuals with OCD are more likely to develop chronic hair pulling, tics, and eating disorders and can be predisposed to depression, panic disorder or hypochondria.

With obsessive-compulsive disorder, one may realize that their obsessions aren't reasonable, and may try to ignore them or stop them, however that only increases the distress and anxiety. Ultimately, a sufferer may feel driven to perform compulsive acts in an effort to ease their stressful feelings. Almost all people may have some sort of ritual, such as checking the stove and lights in the house before leaving, (even when you are almost certain the stove is off), but it does not affect or interfere with their work, study or personal relationships as it does with OCD.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) for obsessive compulsive disorder is highly effective. This type of therapy focuses on changing thought patterns by altering behavior. Cognitive-behavior therapy teaches the patient to recognize the harmful patterns of thinking and the behavior that goes with it. Along with CBT, exposure and response therapy is also used. The patient will be gradually and purposefully exposed to the obsession which causes fear and asked not to engage in the compulsive behavior. With this type of exposure therapy, the patient should feel less and less anxious as they realize that nothing bad will happen. However, if the OCD is severe, medication may be prescribed along with psychotherapy.

OCD Self Test
Do you have unwanted, intrusive or scary thoughts that cause you anxiety?
Disagree
Agree
Does your thoughts cause you to perform certain rituals, i.e. handwashing, counting, or repeating words?
Disagree
Agree
Have you unsuccessfully tried to suppress these urges? Does trying to suppress the urges cause you extreme anxiety and worry? Do you recognize these things as irrational and get frustrated at yourself for being unable to stop them?
Disagree
Agree
Do you worry that if you don't perform these rituals something bad will happen to you or to a loved one? Do you feel that somehow performing these rituals will prevent harm from befalling you?
Disagree
Agree
Do you have excessive medical worries and go to doctors looking for reassurance that you are not sick? Do you have excessive medical worries, but are so overcome with fear that you are afraid to go to the doctor because you don't want to find out something is wrong with you?
Disagree
Agree
Do you spend an inordinate amount of time on the internet looking up medical topics and then fearing you have some sort of disease?
Disagree
Agree
Do you often ask friends or family members for reassurance that you are OK? Are they getting annoyed that you constantly ask them the same questions over and over?
Disagree
Agree
Do you have excessive fears of taking medications or inadvertently ingesting something that will somehow cause you to have a "bad reaction"? Are you avoiding certain foods because you worry you will have an allergic reaction?
Disagree
Agree
Do you avoid situations where you may possibly inhale or come into contact with something you fear will somehow contaminate you if you touch or even go near certain liquids, cleaning products, perfumes etc.
Disagree
Agree
Do you sometime worry that you will lose control and hurt a loved one or stranger? Does this fear cause you to try to avoid being alone with your child, or prevent you from going places?
Disagree
Agree
Are you ashamed and horrified by the thought that you might harm someone?
Disagree
Agree
Do you often look into the rear view mirror while driving to make sure you did not inadvertently run someone over? Do you often actually turn the car around to check that you didn't hit a person or animal?
Disagree
Agree
Are you sometimes overcome with fear that you will lose control and either say or do something inappropriate in either a work or social setting?
Disagree
Agree
Do you excessively worry about your sexual preference? Do you have an irrational fear of not being heterosexual?
Disagree
Agree
Has your obsessions and compulsions interfered with your social, work and/or home life?
Disagree
Agree
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