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
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 quarter 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.
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care
provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a
substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER
IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the
advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to
starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a