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Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) - What Happens

With obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), you develop disturbing, obsessive thoughts that cause fear or anxiety. In order to rid yourself of these thoughts and relieve the fear, you perform rituals, such as repeated hand-washing or checking that something has been done. Unfortunately, the relief is only temporary. The thoughts return and you repeat the rituals.

The rituals or behaviors become time-consuming and have a significant impact on your daily life. If your particular fear involves unfamiliar situations, it is possible for you to become so obsessed by the fears that you stop going outside of your home. Quality of life can be substantially lowered by OCD since it can greatly affect your ability to work and have relationships.

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Many people are too embarrassed by their symptoms to seek treatment, and they go for years before seeing a doctor. Symptoms of OCD can be reduced with treatment.

OCD can have a negative effect on those who care about you. Family members can become angry and frustrated at the strain the rituals or behaviors put on them. Talk to your doctor about ways your family members can help with OCD.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: June 05, 2012
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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