Q&A: Obsessive compulsive disorder, what it is – and is not

A: OCD is an anxiety disorder consisting of a cycle of intrusive, unwanted obsessions, recurring thoughts, ideas, or impulses; and subsequent compulsions, strategies or rituals used to lower distress brought on by the obsessions. Rituals to reduce distress include overt behavior such as repetitive washing, covert behaviors such as seeking reassurance, or mental acts such as replaying events or repeating words to one’s self.