Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is a chronic, potentially disabling anxiety disorder. This condition is characterized by persistent, unwanted thoughts (obsessions) or certain behaviours that are repetitive and unnecessary but are extremely difficult to overcome (compulsions). People with OCD often feel powerless, distressed, and anxious because of the condition.
Generally, the obsessive rituals are performed privately because affected people believe others may not understand their feelings and behaviour. People with OCD also realize that their actions have no real purpose but still feel unable to stop.
OCD affects up to 3% of the population and occurs in all ethnic groups. It affects men and women equally. It is sometimes confused with other anxiety disorders but, in reality, the condition is an illness that requires treatment.