Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
OCD is a type of anxiety disorder, in which obsessions and compulsions cause significant emotional pain and/or impair an individual’s ability to function in different areas of his or her life. Typical symptoms involve intense obsessional thoughts, compulsive behaviors including washing, cleaning, counting, arranging, avoidance, mental rituals, or other idiosyncratic behaviors. Themes include contamination, religious domains, fear of harming self or others, violence, etc. Panic, general anxiety, depressive symptoms, and guilt often accompany OCD symptoms.
OCD can be broken into different domains. Cognitive components involve the obsessions themselves, but more critical in terms of pathology, are beliefs that obsessions are dangerous, intolerable, and must be neutralized or repressed. Other typical cognitive components include thoughts like, “Will something terrible happen if I don’t counteract this thought ?” “I must be crazy to think like this!” Physical symptoms are similar to other anxiety disorders and can include any sensations that are related to sympathetic nervous system activation, e.g., nausea, increased pulse, perspiration, etc. Strong urges (experienced as compulsions) to “undo” an obsession exist. Delays or resistance in responding to a compulsion will temporarily increase anxiety symptoms.