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Defining OCD's Mental Obsessions and Habitual Compulsions

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Dr. Lester Sandman earned his MD from the Medical College of Wisconsin in 1986. Engaged in referral-based practice, Lester Sandman, MD, receives patients diagnosed with mood and anxiety disorders such as obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).

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Defining OCD's Mental Obsessions and Habitual Compulsions

  1. 1. DEFINING OCD'S MENTAL OBSESSIONS AND HABITUAL COMPULSIONS Dr. Lester Sandman
  2. 2. INTRODUCTION  Dr. Lester Sandman earned his MD from the Medical College of Wisconsin in 1986. Engaged in referral-based practice, Lester Sandman, MD, receives patients diagnosed with mood and anxiety disorders such as obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). OCD is an anxiety disorder that is exhibited through impulsive uncontrollable thoughts and ritualized behaviors that are hard to break free from. For patients with OCD, the unwanted thoughts and compulsive rituals are irrational, but they feel compelled to perform them regardless. OCD obsessions are unwanted thoughts or images that occur repeatedly in the mind of the patient. They are disturbing and are difficult to let go of. Obsessions can vary considerably and include the following:
  3. 3. OBSESSIVE COMPULSIVE DISORDER  1) fear of getting into contact with germs or dirt or getting others sick; 2) fear of harming oneself or others due to carelessness; 3) a need for perfect organization, exactness, or symmetry such as with arranging clothes, books, or other items according to size or color; and 4) a need for perfection such as repeating an assignment until it’s perfect. Compulsions, on the other hand, are behaviors performed in an attempt to make obsessions disappear. These are characterized by the following behaviors: 1) washing or cleaning one’s hands excessively, brushing one’s teeth in a specific order, or washing each body part a certain number of times; 2) constantly checking locks, taps, doors, and backpacks; and 3) counting or touching things a number of times in a particular way to avert “bad things.”

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