Obsessive-Compulsive Thoughts

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Story Updated: Apr 17, 2014

The unwanted thoughts that are typical of obsessive-compulsive disorder are actually experienced by nearly everybody from time to time. A new international study surveyed nearly 800 university students in 13 countries. All were asked if during the prior 3 months they had experienced an unwanted thought, image, or impulse ranging from wanting to hurt somebody to fearing disaster.

In the end, nearly 94% of participants spread across 6 different continents said that they had. Being plagued by a troubling doubt such as worrying that a locked door was maybe left unlocked was the most common such intrusion. By contrast, unwanted thoughts concerning sex, religion or immoral considerations turned out to be the least common type of intrusion.

Regardless, the study authors stressed that such seemingly universal intrusions are not handled by everybody in the same way.

Non-OCD-afflicted people, they noted, are ultimately able to dismiss such thoughts as merely strange or silly while those with a compulsive disorder are not.

I'm Dr. Cindy Haines of HealthDay TV with news you can use for healthier living.

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