Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: April 21, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412963855 | Print ISBN: 9781412941860 | Online ISBN: 9781412963855| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Lareina Nadine La Flair
Obsessive-compulsive disorder is a chronic, disabling anxiety disorder characterized by intrusive, persistent thoughts and repetitive behaviors. Obsessions may include recurrent thoughts, images, or impulses that cause distress or anxiety such as aggressive thoughts, fears of germs or dirt, fears of social embarrassment, or fears that others may be in danger. Although healthy people exhibit compulsive behavior (e.g., checking to make sure the iron is turned off), individuals with obsessive-compulsive disorder have compulsive rituals that are performed to neutralize or combat these fears; these compulsions are not pleasurable, often end up controlling the individual, and may interfere with his or her daily life. Notwithstanding the emotional burden to the individual and his or her family, total lifetime indirect costs of obsessive-compulsive disorder are estimated at $40 billion. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th edition (DSM-IV), published by the American Psychiatric Association, establishes five diagnostic criteria used by Obsessive-compulsive ...