Obsessive-compulsive disorder (O.C.D.) stems from anxieties that are characterized by obsessions, compulsions, or both. They are time-consuming, and significantly interfere with a person’s normal routine, occupational functioning, his/her usual activities, and relationships with others. An “obsession” can be defined as the domination of a person’s thoughts, feelings, or behavior by a persistent idea, image, wish, or temptation. These thoughts occur against the person’s will and are often characterized by rumination and/or brooding. Thus, an obsessional person may engage in vague, repetitious thinking about a perceived problem in an effort to solve an emotional conflict. However, the solution to the problem is often avoided and that person will start the thinking process over and over again.
Compulsions and/or rituals are persistent and irresistable urges to do apparently meaningless acts. These acts are motor equivalents of the obsessive thoughts and often accompany them. Obsessive-compulsive disorders can be characterized by magical thinking, doubting, indecisiveness, rambling, procrastination, and repetition. All the while, the person consciously knows that his/her acts and thoughts are unreasonable, but is unable to control them.
Obsessional people can also be well organized, productive, and conscientious. They think logically most of the time, and carry out ideas effectively. But people who are severely afflicted by O.C.D. can have marked difficulty in thinking and are often unable to act logically and productively because of their ambivalence, doubt, guilt, indecisiveness, and procrastination.