Symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) are: Obsessions—unwanted, repetitive, and intrusive ideas, impulses, or imagesCompulsions—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 oneUnreasonable concern about becoming contaminatedUnreasonable concern about safetyUnacceptable religious, violent, or sexual thoughtsExcessive need to do things perfectly
Common compulsions include: Excessive checking of door locks, stoves, water faucets, light switches, etcRepeatedly making lists, counting, arranging, or aligning thingsCollecting and hoarding useless objectsRepeating routine actions a certain number of times until it feels just rightUnnecessary re-reading and re-writingMentally repeating phrasesRepeated 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.
Moore DP, Jefferson JW.
Handbook of Medical Psychiatry
2nd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Mosby; 2004.
Last reviewed May 2015 by Michael Woods, MD
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