People often jokingly point to odd habits or tidiness as signs of obsessive-compulsive disorder, or OCD. But the truth is OCD is a very real disorder that affects more than 2 million Americans, and there is a big difference between maintaining a morning routine or keeping a clean home and living with the disorder.
The Anxiety Disorders Association of America (ADAA) provides free resources to help those struggling with OCD to treat and manage OCD and other anxiety-related disorders.
Five new videos from ADAA educate viewers about OCD, covering treatment options, how OCD affects adults and children, and OCD research. Dr. Elspeth Bell, a licensed psychologist at the Behavior Therapy Center of Greater Washington, DC, hosts the videos on behalf of ADAA.
OCD is characterized by intrusive and uncontrollable thoughts (obsessions) that compel sufferers to perform ritualistic behaviors and routines (compulsions) in an attempt to ease their anxiety. Most people experience these symptoms from time to time, but in someone with OCD, these thoughts and behaviors continue to the point of interfering with daily life. Adults with OCD typically understand that their actions are irrational or excessive, but feel powerless to stop them. Children with the disorder do not always realize that their obsessions and compulsions are excessive.
Because it can be difficult to diagnose OCD, ADAA provides a screening quiz on the website. If you suspect you may be suffering from OCD, answer the questions on the form and discuss them with your health care specialist.
ADAA also provides brochures about OCD and other anxiety disorders free online. People interested in finding therapists who specialize in anxiety can search in the ADAA Find a Therapist database.