Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

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  • A psychological anxiety disorder characterized by an individual's uncon trollable urge or drive to engage in irrational rituals. For example, a person may have an unreasonable fear of germs and therefore feels the urge to constantly wash hands in an attempt to alleviate the anxiety. Classified as an Axis I category disorder by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (fourth edition, text revision; DSM-IV-TR), an individual must have either obsessions or compulsions, or both, to be diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder. The onset of obsessive-compulsive disorder is often around early adulthood. Obsessive-compulsive disorder is estimated to occur in approximately 2.5% of the population. A mild genetic predisposition for the disorder has been identified. For more information, see American Psychiatric Association, DSM-IV-TR (2000).

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