b'OBSESSIVE-COMPULSIVE DISORDER (OCD) Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is characterized by recurrent obsessions and/or compulsions. OCD can range from mild idiosyncrasies that may require only minimal treatment to a debilitating condition that substantially interferes with daily lifeApproximately 1% of the U.S. population is believed to meet the criteria for OCD. Obsessions are intrusive, irrational thoughts, unwanted ideas or impulses. . The person may experience recurring disturbing thoughts, such as My hands must be contaminated; I must wash them or I may have left the gas stove on. The person may be ruled by numbers, fear s/he will harm others, or concerned with body imperfections. On one level, the sufferer knows these obsessive thoughts are irrational. At another level, s/he fears these thoughts might be true. Trying to avoid such thoughts creates more anxiety. Compulsions are repetitive rituals such as hand washing, counting, checking, hoarding, or arranging. An individual repeats these actions in attempts to reduce the anxiety brought on by obsessions. People with OCD feel they must perform these rituals or something bad will happen. Most people occasionally have obsessive thoughts or compulsive behaviors. OCD occurs when the obsessions or compulsions are severe enough to cause serious distress, be time-consuming (compulsions occurring more than an hour each day), and interfere with daily functioning. People with OCD often attempt to hide their problem rather than seek help. They are remarkably successful in concealing obsessive- Mental Health Concerns186'