The medical abbreviation OCD stands for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, which is a mental health disorder characterized by unwanted, intrusive thoughts or obsessions that lead to repetitive behaviours or compulsions in order to reduce anxiety or distress.
Individuals with OCD may have recurrent and persistent thoughts or images that cause anxiety, such as fear of contamination or harm, and may engage in repetitive behaviours or mental acts to reduce the anxiety caused by these obsessions. Examples of compulsive behaviours include excessive hand-washing, checking, counting, or arranging.
Treatment for OCD may involve cognitive-behavioural therapy, medication, or a combination of both. In cognitive-behavioural therapy, individuals learn to recognize and challenge their obsessive thoughts and engage in exposure and response prevention, a type of therapy in which they gradually confront their fears and resist engaging in compulsive behaviours. Medications such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) may also be used to reduce anxiety and compulsions. With appropriate treatment, individuals with OCD can manage their symptoms and lead fulfilling lives.