Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), formerly considered a type of anxiety disorder, is now regarded as a unique condition. It is a potentially disabling illness that traps people in endless cycles of repetitive thoughts and behaviors. People with OCD are plagued by recurring and distressing thoughts, fears, or images (obsessions) they cannot control. The anxiety (nervousness) produced by these thoughts leads to an urgent need to perform certain rituals or routines (compulsions). The compulsive rituals are performed in an attempt to prevent the obsessive thoughts or make them go away.
Although the ritual may temporarily alleviate anxiety, the person must perform the ritual again when the obsessive thoughts return. This OCD cycle can progress to the point of taking up hours of the person's day and significantly interfering with normal activities. People with OCD may be aware that their obsessions and compulsions are senseless or unrealistic, but they cannot stop them.
Born in Tenafly, N.J., actress Mira Sorvino has won acclaim for her roles in a wide range of movies, including Barcelona, Quiz Show, Mighty Aphrodite, and Romy and Michele's High School Reunion. She spoke to WebMD the Magazine about her work with the families of people with diabetes, as well as her healthy diet (it really is healthy), her three children, and her role as a woman with bipolar disorder inthe upcoming Union Square. Plus she reveals her favorite guilty-pleasure food.