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Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a mental disorder in which people experience recurring obsessive thoughts that evoke uncomfortable feelings, such as anxiety, fear, guilt or a feeling of disgust that people then react to by performing a compulsive behaviour. The problem is characterised by the person getting stuck in this vicious cycle of obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviour, which can gradually start taking more time and energy. Thus, OCD can escalate and take over your life if nothing is done.

When people think of obsessive compulsive disorder, most people think of fear of germs and infections, where people repeatedly wash their hands, or fear of causing harm where people repeatedly check locks and plugs. However, obsessive compulsive disorder can be about anything. For example, whether one is a good person ("What if I hurt my girlfriend when I said this?") or doubts about one's feelings for another person or the quality of the relationship ("What if I'm not in love enough?" or "What if she doesn't like me enough?”). Obsession can also be connected to doubts about sexuality or sexual experience and doubts about whether one actually exists or what will happen after death. In addition, anxiety associated with fear of causing harm to other people is also common as well as repeated unwelcome obsessive thoughts about incest, child abuse and sexual violence.

Most commonly, those diagnosed with obsessive compulsive disorder have many different manifestations and themes in their obsessive thoughts. It is also common for the manifestation to change over time.