Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), a type of anxiety disorder, is a potentially disabling illness that causes a person to have unreasonable thoughts and fears (obsessions) and engage in certain rituals or routines (compulsions). Some common symptoms of OCD include fear of dirt or germs; fear of causing harm to another; fear of making a mistake; fear of being embarrassed; fear of thinking evil or sinful thoughts; a need for order, symmetry or exactness; excessive doubt and the need for constant reassurance. Common compulsions may include repeatedly bathing, showering or washing hands; refusing to shake hands or touch doorknobs; repeatedly checking things such as locks and stoves; constantly arranging things a certain way; eating foods in a specific order; and needing to perform tasks a certain number of times.
OCD is not completely understood but some theories on the cause include body chemistry changes, learned behavior and insufficient serotonin levels.
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