Obsessive Compulsive Disorder may most commonly be known for the repetition of tasks, such as frequent hand-washing; however, OCD can actually take a variety of different forms and have a variety of different symptoms.  OCD is a form of anxiety where repeated thoughts and rituals cause great distress and impede in completing everyday activities. 

A person with OCD may have obsessions which are thoughts, images, and impulses that occur frequently and repeatedly. These obsessions are unwanted and sometimes do not make sense. Some common obsessions in OCD are the following:

  • Excessive concerns about germs, illnesses, or other forms of contamination
  • Fear of harming self or others
  • Violent or horrific images
  • Fear of acting on unwanted impulses
  • Excessive concern about forgetting important information
  • Excessive concern with perfectionism
  • Excessive concern with morality
  • Having unwanted sexual thoughts

Sometimes people with OCD will perform repetitive behaviors or "rituals" called compulsions in order to diminish, neutralize, or satisfy the obsessions.  The rituals can take place physically or they can take place mentally.  The rituals can sometimes take a lot of time to perform and may interfere with life activities.  Other people with OCD may perform rituals infrequently, or not at all. Some common compulsions in OCD are the following:

  • Hoarding (difficulty throwing things away and fearing that it will be needed later)
  • Excessive washing or cleaning compulsions (washing hands, showering in a patterned way, grooming, etc.)
  • Mental checking (asking self “Did I do this right?” “Am I doing this the right way?” “Does this feel right?”)
  • Constant need to seek reassurance from others
  • Rereading/rewriting
  • Repeating routine activities
  • Counting objects
  • Arranging/rearranging/ordering

A diagnosis of OCD is formed through an evaluation with a trained professional, and only a trained professional should attempt to diagnose OCD.  Symptoms that appear like OCD can actually be from something else.

If you suspect that you or a loved one have OCD, and would like to inquire about making an appointment with our clinic, please call our office or go to our Appointments page.  There are also many other medical facilities and community resources available.  Do not delay in getting help if you feel like you may have a medical condition. 

There are many resources available to the public if you are at a stage where you want to learn more about OCD.  It's always best to do your own research, but if you would like some ideas you can consider these Mental Health Links.