According to the National Institute of Mental Health or NIMH, nearly eight million individuals in the United States alone suffer from an anxiety disorder that is identified in the medical community as obsessive-compulsive disorder. The individuals counted in this staggering statistic are those that are at least eighteen years old and over.

Many children and adolescents will start to show the symptoms associated with this anxiety disorder prior to reaching adulthood. However, there are many individuals that do not display the symptoms associated with OCD until they are an adult. In this mental health guide, you will learn important facts relating to this potentially disabling condition.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Explained

As previously stated, OCD is an anxiety disorder. The individuals that suffer from this condition are often plagued with desired thoughts. These are called obsessions. The sufferer also engages in behaviors that are considered to be repetitive. These are referred to as compulsions.

Individuals will often use in particular and often highly unusual behaviors in order to eliminate the unwanted and troublesome thoughts that they experience. Many perform certain tasks in order to prevent the sunset of the thoughts. Then, there are people that will engage in the repetitive behaviors in order to cope with the thoughts that are experienced.

Once the behaviors have been performed, it acts a temporary form of relief. If the behaviors are not performed, anxiety may be experienced. In the same respect, if the repetitive behaviors take up an excessive amount of time or the sufferer views them as inconvenient, stress and anxiety may also be experienced.

Common Symptoms

There are many common symptoms associated with obsessive-compulsive disorder. Many patients find that the repetitive behaviors that they feel inclined to indulge in actually end up controlling them as well as the quality of life that they lead. The thoughts that plague the individual often results in a high level of anxiety and dread.

This is because of the fact that it results in having to perform certain rituals in order to overcome or cope with those thoughts. These rituals often take a quite a bit of time out of a person's day. The following represent the most common symptoms experienced by those with obsessive-compulsive disorder:

• Many will develop an obsession over dirt, germs, natural body odors, secretions from the body, and other items that are similar in nature.
• Many sufferers experience an issue when it comes to keeping things organized and neat. Many may display this in behaviors that put items in a certain manner.
• Many will display the need to count or consistently engage in thoughts and actions that directly relate to numbers.
• It is common for an individual to clean themselves consistently through the means of showering, washing the hands, brushing all areas of the mouth regularly, and using a large amount of soaps and deodorant products in an effort to mask smells that they are nervous to have.
• Religious thoughts and behaviors may also be exhibited.

While this does not cover all of the symptoms that may be experienced by sufferers, they are the most common symptoms. If you or someone you know has obsessive-compulsive disorder, it is important to treat the condition under the care of a doctor.