If you've ever caught an episode of the TV series Monk, you know about the strange behavior of Adrian Monk, the Defective Detective. The title character has obsessive-compulsive disorder, or OCD.
Without treatment, OCD is crippling and disabling. The average person with OCD suffers more than seven years before seeking help, often because he or she is embarrassed or unaware that this mental disorder can be treated.
People with OCD suffer from obsessions and compulsions. Obsessions are anxiety-producing thoughts that repeat themselves over and over. Compulsions are behaviors that people with OCD perform repeatedly to get rid of the distressing obsessions.
The symptoms vary widely from person to person. OCD often starts when a person is a child or teenager, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. Without treatment, OCD can last for a lifetime.
You may have the condition if any of the following are true and cause you distress:
Washing and cleaning
Checking and repeating
Worries and pure obsessions
Many people with OCD benefit from medications and behavioral therapy in which they're very gradually exposed to circumstances that trigger their compulsive behaviors.
If you have symptoms of OCD, seek treatment immediately. Once it's identified, it's highly treatable, and many people who receive the appropriate behavioral therapy are able to regain control of their lives.
Online tools to help manage your daily life.
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