Symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) are:

    
  • Obsessions—unwanted, repetitive, and intrusive ideas, impulses, or images
  • Compulsions—repetitive behaviors or mental acts usually performed to reduce the anxiety or distress associated with obsessions
  • If you have OCD, you know that your thoughts and behaviors are nonsensical, and you would like to avoid or stop them.

    Common obsessions include:

        
  • Persistent fears that harm may come to yourself or a loved one
  • Unreasonable concern about becoming contaminated
  • Unreasonable concern about safety
  • Unacceptable religious, violent, or sexual thoughts
  • Excessive need to do things perfectly
  • Common compulsions include:

        
  • Excessive checking of door locks, stoves, water faucets, light switches, etc
  • Repeatedly making lists, counting, arranging, or aligning things
  • Collecting and hoarding useless objects
  • Repeating routine actions a certain number of times until it feels just right
  • Unnecessary re-reading and re-writing
  • Mentally repeating phrases
  • Repeated hand washing
  • Most people with OCD have both obsessions and compulsions. About one-fourth have obsessions only and about 5% have only compulsions. The majority of patients with OCD are ashamed of their disorder, and many find it hard to confide in a doctor. However, now that effective treatments are available, more sufferers are talking to their doctors about their symptoms.