Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) causes anxiety and interferes with the daily lives of those who suffer from it.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder causes people to have recurring thoughts about a specific issue or idea throughout the day, referred to as obsessions. To control them, people with OCD implement a series of behaviors known as compulsions that give them anxiety or interfere with their daily lives.
An example of this includes being obsessed with bacteria or dirtiness. Someone who has OCD may repeatedly wash their hands throughout the day to get them clean, leading to unnecessary damage to the skin. (Related article: Mental health and its effect on disease).
The National Institute of Mental Health in the United States explains that most patients are diagnosed at about age 19. It also states that symptoms may improve or worsen throughout different times of life, which is why it is important to have the ongoing support of a specialist.
With regard to the cause, researchers from Harvard University state that “Neuroscientists believe that the brain pathways involved with judgment, planning and body movement are altered in OCD. Environmental influences, such as family relationships or stressful events, can trigger or worsen OCD symptoms.”