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Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a mental health disorder that involves unwanted, distressing thoughts or urges (obsessions), and repetitive mental or physical acts that a person feels he or she has to do (compulsions). When a person has OCD, his or her condition can affect others around him or her, such as friends and family members. Friends and family can help by offering support and understanding.
A person with OCD may experience obsessions, compulsions, or both. The person may try to ignore his or her obsessions, or he or she may try to stop or undo the obsessions with a compulsion such as a ritual. Compulsive acts may seem senseless or excessive to you. Your loved one may think that acting on compulsions will reduce or prevent his or her discomfort, but compulsions do not have this effect.
Obsessions and compulsions can be time-consuming and can interfere with personal relationships and normal activities at home and school or work. OCD usually starts in young adulthood and continues throughout life. Many people with OCD also have depression or another mental health disorder.
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Think about joining self-help and support groups, not only for your friend or family member, but also for yourself. People in these peer and family support groups understand what you and your loved one are going through. They can help you feel a sense of hope and connect you with local resources to help you learn more.
This information is not intended to replace advice given to you by your health care provider. Make sure you discuss any questions you have with your health care provider.
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