obsessive-compulsive


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obsessive-compulsive

 [ob-ses´iv-kom-pul´siv]
pertaining to obsessions and compulsions, to obsessive-compulsive disorder, or to obsessive-compulsive personality disorder.
o.-c. disorder OCD; an anxiety disorder consisting of two symptoms, obsession and compulsion; although they are different, they are closely related and often occur in the same person. An obsession is a recurrent and persistent thought or desire. It is not voluntary and is distressing to the patient, but although the patient tries to suppress or ignore it, it is very difficult to eliminate from the mind. A compulsion is an uncontrollable urge to perform some repetitive and stereotyped action. This action is not an end in itself but serves as a substitute for unacceptable unconscious ideas and impulses. Although the patient does not know the reason for this action, failure to perform it leads to increasing anxiety, which can be relieved by giving in to the compulsion. Eventually, after repeatedly failing to resist the compulsion, the patient may lose the desire to resist it.

The mild forms of these three symptoms are familiar to most people. For example, most children play the game of avoiding the cracks in the sidewalk. As adults, they find themselves doing this occasionally, perhaps when thinking over a problem. Individuals with obsessive-compulsive disorder, however, might feel real anxiety if they step on a crack in the sidewalk.

In obsessive-compulsive disorder, the patient deflects, or displaces the unresolved conflict onto an external object or action as a substitute. By doing this, the person tries to control the conflict magically and eliminate anxiety. The obsession or ritual represents a smokescreen which the mind throws up to keep the inner conflict from becoming conscious. This is not the same as obsessive-compulsive personality disorder, which is a personality disorder.
o.-c. personality disorder a personality disorder characterized by an emotionally constricted manner that is unduly conventional, serious, rigid, stubborn, and stingy, by preoccupation with trivial details, rules, order, organization, schedules, and lists to the point that the major point of an activity is lost or task completion is delayed, by reluctance to delegate tasks or work cooperatively unless everything is done one's own way, and by excessive devotion to work and productivity to the detriment of interpersonal relationships. This is not the same as obsessive-compulsive disorder, which is an anxiety disorder.

ob·ses·sive-com·pul·sive

(ob-ses'iv-kom-pŭl'siv),
Having a tendency to perform certain repetitive acts or ritualistic behavior to relieve anxiety, associated with obsessive thoughts, as in obsessive-compulsive neurosis (for example, a compulsive, ritualistic need to wash one's hands many dozens of times per day).

obsessive-compulsive

/ob·ses·sive-com·pul·sive/ (ob-ses´iv-kom-pul´siv) pertaining to obsessions and compulsions, to obsessive-compulsive disorder, or to obsessive-compulsive personality disorder.

obsessive-compulsive

[əbses′iv]
Etymology: L, obsidere, to haunt, compellere, to impel
1 characterized by or relating to the tendency to perform repetitive acts or rituals or think repetitive thoughts, usually as a means of releasing tension or relieving anxiety.
2 describing a person who has an obsessive-compulsive disorder.

ob·ses·sive-com·pul·sive

(ŏb-ses'iv-kŏm-pŭl'siv)
Having a tendency to perform certain repetitive acts or ritualistic behavior to relieve anxiety, as in obsessive-compulsive neurosis (e.g., a compulsive, ritualistic need to wash one's hands many dozens of times per day).
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