Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Many people are particular about this or that—they want things to be just so. People with obsessive-compulsive disorder, however, experience these feelings to an extreme extent. They must deal with persistent and unwelcome anxious thoughts (obsessions), which give rise to ritualistic practices (compulsions) that are intended to control the intruding thoughts. People may feel compelled to count objects or actions, check things repeatedly, or wash their hands over and over again. About 3.3 million Americans are living with OCD; men and women are equally affected. Severe cases can take up so much of a person’s time and concentration that the actions of normal life are nearly impossible. There’s a variety of treatment and support options that can be effective including psychotherapy, medications, and support groups as well as the acceptance and sensitive understanding of friends. If you have a friend with OCD, try to understand that the ideas and actions can’t just be wished away. Remember, too, that understanding, respect, and support can help.