Therapy Toronto Psychotherapy Definitions

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Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, also known as OCD, is characterized by obsessive thoughts and/or compulsive behaviors that significantly interfere with normal life.


Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder should not be confused with meticulousness or a love of order. It is a particular form of anxiety disorder typified by the need to engage in compulsive ritual behaviour.

People suffering from OCD may find themselves compelled to fulfil ritual sequences of events.

For example, they may feel it necessary to go to work along the same streets without fail; to repeat certain words under their breath at certain times during the day; to count up to a certain number, or to sort things like kitchen spoons repeatedly each day.

They may have associated phobias around dirt and germs and need to wash their hands frequently, or have to make and unmake their beds several times in the morning.

They may be troubled by intrusive and unwanted 'bad' thoughts involving sexuality, violence, disasters or other eventualities.

In OCD, obsessions are unwanted, recurrent, and disturbing thoughts that a person cannot suppress and that can cause overwhelming anxiety. Compulsions are repetitive, ritualized behaviors that the person feels driven to perform to alleviate the anxiety of the obsessions. The obsessive and compulsive rituals can occupy many hours of each day and seriously impair day-to-day living.
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