People with OCD have persistent thoughts, ideas, and images that enter their conscious mind and are seen as senseless and intrusive. Some common obsessive thoughts are that a small oversight by the person will result in inconceivable catastrophe for themselves, other people or the world at large. Other common obsessions are contamination, putting things in order, violent impulses, and sexual imagery. Persons with this disorder recognize that these unwanted thoughts (such as fears of hurting their children) are abnormal and would not act on them, but the thoughts are very disturbing and difficult to discuss with others. These thoughts are more than simply excessive worries about real-life problems.
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There are no blood tests or imaging studies that will diagnose OCD. The doctor or mental health professional will ask you about your thoughts, behavior and past history as well as family history.
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There are many effective treatments for obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), ranging from therapy to self-help and medication. If you think you have OCD, the first person you should see is your family doctor. A physician can determine whether the symptoms that alarm you are due to OCD, another type of anxiety disorder, or another medical condition.
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