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Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a type of anxiety disorder. People with OCD have repeated, unwanted thoughts and behaviors they cannot control. These thoughts are called obsessions. An example of an obsession would be a fear of germs. To try to make obsessive thoughts go away, people with OCD perform repeated actions, such as hand washing, counting, checking, or cleaning. These repeated actions are called compulsions. Compulsions provide only temporary relief from obsessive thoughts. And not doing these actions causes anxiety. Left untreated, these thoughts and behaviors can take over a person's life. This can make it hard, if not impossible, for people with OCD to go to work or school, or have normal relationships with friends and families. Treatment, such as medicine and therapy, can help.
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More information on Obsessive-compulsive disorder
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- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: What It Is and How to Treat It (Copyright © American Academy of Family Physicians) - This online publication provides information on obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and other common obsessions, compulsions, and illnesses related to OCD.
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Content last updated September 22, 2009.
Resources last updated September 18, 2013.
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