Obsessive Compulsive


Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a type of anxiety that is distinguished by repetitive thoughts and behaviors. Generally, people with OCD experience recurrent, unwanted thoughts, images, or worries (known as obsessions) that lead to anxiety and nervousness.  These obsessions in turn produce a need to carry out particular rituals or routines (called compulsions) to prevent unwanted thoughts and alleviate subsequent stress. Performing these rituals temporarily relieves the nervous tension and not performing them intensifies feelings of anxiety.

OCD affects people from all walks of life and impacts approximately one percent of the U.S. adult population.  Those affected by OCD often assert that the intense feelings of anxiety interfere with day-to-day functioning.  The following are obsessive and compulsive symptoms:

Obsessive symptoms include:

  • Fear of dirt and germs
  • Fear of hurting someone
  • Fear of making an error
  • Fear of making a social gaffe
  • Fear of thinking evil thoughts
  • A urgent need for symmetry, precision and neatness
  • Extreme, unwarranted doubt

Compulsive symptoms include:

  • Repetitively washing hands, bathing and cleaning
  • Refusing to touch items that others have touched
  • Checking locks or stoves over and over again
  • Continuous counting
  • Perpetually organizing things
  • Eating food in a certain order
  • Feeling trapped by unwanted images or thoughts
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Repeating particular words or phrases
  • Performing tasks a certain number of times
  • Hoarding items

If you would like to learn more about obessive-compulsive behaviors, consider these resources about OCD: