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.
Omar Epps, co-star of Fox's hit medical drama House, also co-stars in a TV, radio, and online campaign to help stop suicide among members of the military.
"The high rate of suicide in the military -- we wanted to shine some light on that," says Epps, referring to the star-studded cast of the public service announcements. "If there's any drop as a result, that's a good thing."
Epps joins a host of other celebrities -- including Michael Chiklis, Melissa Leo, Terrell Owens, and Alfre Woodard -- who...