In a nutshell
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a mental health condition where you get stuck in a vicious cycle of obsessive thoughts and compulsions:
- An obsession is an unwanted and unpleasant thought that repeatedly enters your mind, causing feelings like anxiety, disgust, or unease (e.g., I can’t comprehend anything I read).
- A compulsion is a repetitive behaviour or mental act that you do to alleviate the anxiety caused by the intrusive thought (e.g., repeatedly reading a sentence to make sure you’ve comprehended it perfectly).
OCD can debilitate you if the obsessions -> compulsions -> obsessions -> obsessions cycle is frequent enough that it disrupts your work, relationships, or ability to enjoy normal activities. For example:
- Constant re-reading of sentences makes you unproductive at work or makes work too exhausting.
- The need to constantly repeat certain phrases in your head to feel “just right” constantly puts you on edge when interacting with others.