OCD is an anxiety disorder which involves both obsessions (thoughts, images, or impulses that occur over and over again) and compulsions (acts that a person repeatedly performs in an attempt to make the obsession go away). The brain seems to get "stuck" on a thought or urge and cannot shake it. Individuals with OCD often have the sense that if that "obsession" continues without them taking part in any compulsions, the anxiety will become intolerable.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is an empirically-validated therapeutic intervention that is often used to help individuals with OCD to manage their symptoms. CBT is a concrete, proactive and goal-oriented therapeutic style. With the help of a trained therapist, individuals with OCD can learn to control and even alleviate their obsessions and compulsions. Individuals will also learn coping strategies such as relaxation exercises and ways to challenge distorted thinking in an effort to reduce anxiety. Psychotropic medications may also be a part of the treatment plan for the individual with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.