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What Is OCD?

Learn what obsessive compulsive disorder is from psychiatrist Ankur Saraiya in this Howcast video.


The first thing i want to specify is that OCD is not a personality disorder, there actually is a personality disorder called Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder, or OCPD, but that's different and separate from OCD. In OCD individuals have obsessions which are repeated thoughts that create anxiety, or they can have both obsessions and compulsions, compulsions being certain actions that individuals have to undertake in order to help deal with their anxiety. Classic symptoms of OCD are having to wash one's hand over and over again for fear that there's some contamination, or having to check that the stove has been turned off, or to checker to make sure that the door is locked either after you've gotten home or before you leave home. And even though the action has been done and the lock has been locked, the individual has anxiety that it's not there and the only thing that will relieve the anxiety is to actually check that particular item again. So these are the classic OCD rituals, but there are actually also a whole multitude of actions that people with OCD undertake but have nothing to do with specific activities they can involve having something happen by chance and then therr having to go back and do a ritual to undo the previous action and the individual often knows that this undoing makes no logical sense but they have to do it, they're driven to do it and they have no choice because otherwise they've too overwhelmed with anxiety to move on to their regular tasks. Unfortunately we don't have a cure for OCD but there are various both medication and behavioral interventions that can help greatly reduce the amount that the disorder interferes with individuals lives. So it's important for people who are having these experiences of obsessions and compulsions to have an evaluation to see what can be done to help with their symptoms to reduce the amount that they interferes with their ability to live their everyday lives.

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