Kearns, Megan Department of Psychiatry, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia.
Rothbaum, Barbara O. Department of Psychiatry, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia.
Last reviewed:June 2019
Show previous versions
- Course of the disorder
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
An anxiety disorder defined by the presence of recurrent, intrusive thoughts (known as obsessions) or repetitive behaviors that a person feels driven to perform (known as compulsions). Individuals with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) experience their obsessions as distressing and time-consuming, and they typically recognize that their obsessions are excessive or irrational (Fig. 1). Compulsions are similarly time-consuming and often interfere with everyday life, but they are performed in order to alleviate distress caused by obsessions. The relationship between obsessions and compulsions begins as a generally functional one: obsessions increase anxiety or distress, and initially compulsions decrease or relieve anxiety or distress. Compulsions do not need to be overt actions, such as washing of hands or checking; they also can be thinking of certain words or images, such as a “good” number, or praying ritualistically. See also: Anxiety disorders; Emotion; Mental disorders; Stress (psychology)
The content above is only an excerpt.
for your institution. Subscribe
To learn more about subscribing to AccessScience, or to request a no-risk trial of this award-winning scientific reference for your institution, fill in your information and a member of our Sales Team will contact you as soon as possible.
to your librarian. Recommend
Let your librarian know about the award-winning gateway to the most trustworthy and accurate scientific information.
AccessScience provides the most accurate and trustworthy scientific information available.
Recognized as an award-winning gateway to scientific knowledge, AccessScience is an amazing online resource that contains high-quality reference material written specifically for students. Contributors include more than 10,000 highly qualified scientists and 46 Nobel Prize winners.
MORE THAN 8700 articles covering all major scientific disciplines and encompassing the McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science & Technology and McGraw-Hill Yearbook of Science & Technology
115,000-PLUS definitions from the McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific and Technical Terms
3000 biographies of notable scientific figures
MORE THAN 19,000 downloadable images and animations illustrating key topics
ENGAGING VIDEOS highlighting the life and work of award-winning scientists
SUGGESTIONS FOR FURTHER STUDY and additional readings to guide students to deeper understanding and research
LINKS TO CITABLE LITERATURE help students expand their knowledge using primary sources of information