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, but some only have one or the other. 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 people are talking to their doctor about their symptoms.
International OCD Foundation
website. Available at:
Accessed June 15, 2016.
Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated June 13, 2016. Accessed June 15, 2016.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). National Institute of Mental Health
website. Available at:
http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/obsessive-compulsive-disorder-ocd/index.shtml. Updated January 2016. Accessed June 15, 2016.
Last reviewed June 2016 by Michael Woods, MD
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