Anyone who has experienced or witnessed a traumatic event, such as a car accident, military action, a terrorist attack, rape, or some other act of violence, undergoes severe stress related to the incident. Many people recover on their own, although it often takes time, but sometimes, professional help is needed.
People who feel they're unable to regain control of their lives because of their responses to the trauma may have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The symptoms vary and can appear immediately after the event, or days, weeks, or even months later. PTSD has been linked to other mental illnesses. It can occur with depression or lead to depression, according to the American Psychiatric Association. People with PTSD may not be aware that they are affected by it.
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If you've ever caught an episode of the TV series Monk, you know about the strange behavior of Adrian Monk, the Defective Detective. The title character has obsessive-compulsive disorder, or OCD.
"Without treatment, OCD is crippling and disabling," says R. Reid Wilson, Ph.D., a licensed psychologist who directs the Anxiety Disorders Treatment Program in Chapel Hill and Durham, N.C. "The average person with OCD suffers more than seven years before seeking help, often because he or she is embarrassed or unaware that this mental disorder can be treated."
People with OCD suffer from obsessions and compulsions. Obsessions are anxiety-producing thoughts that repeat themselves over and over. Compulsions are behaviors that people with OCD perform repeatedly to get rid of the distressing obsessions.
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