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Obsessive-Compulsive and Related Disorders: Overview

Obsessions have been defined as intrusive and unwanted ideas or images whereby the individual having such intrusive ideas and images experiences distress by their presence. In the typical obsessional experience, the intrusive ideas and images are deemed by the individual as senseless or impossible to occur but nonetheless are experienced as intense and undesirable (e.g., acting on an urge to harm a loved one or experiencing blasphemous images). Obsessions are often confused with two other intrusive mental phenomena: ruminations and worries. Unlike obsessions, ruminations are persistent intrusive ideas about past events (e.g., when a mistake may have been made or when particularly strong criticism was given). Ruminations are consistently associated with depressed affect, whereas obsessions tend to be associated with anxiety and specific behavioral ...

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