OCD

OCD


Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is characterized by unreasonable thoughts and fears (obsessions) that lead you to do repetitive behaviors (compulsions). Its also possible to have only obsessions or only compulsions and still have OCD.

With OCD, you may or may not realize that your obsessions arent reasonable, and you may try to ignore them or stop them. But that only increases your distress and anxiety. Ultimately, you feel driven to perform compulsive acts in an effort to ease your stressful feelings.

OCD often centers around themes, such as a fear of getting contaminated by germs. To ease your contamination fears, you may compulsively wash your hands until theyre sore and chapped. Despite efforts to ignore or get rid of bothersome thoughts, the thoughts or urges keep coming back. This leads to more ritualistic behavior — and a vicious cycle thats characteristic of OCD.

Obsessions often have themes to them, such as:

 

  • Fear of contamination or dirt
  • Having things orderly and symmetrical
  • Aggressive or horrific thoughts about harming yourself or others
  • Unwanted thoughts, including aggression, or sexual or religious subjects

 

Examples of obsession signs and symptoms include:

 

  • Fear of being contaminated by shaking hands or by touching objects others have touched
  • Doubts that you"ve locked the door or turned off the stove
  • Intense stress when objects aren"t orderly or facing a certain way
  • Images of hurting yourself or someone else
  • Thoughts about shouting obscenities or acting inappropriately
  • Avoidance of situations that can trigger obsessions, such as shaking hands
  • Distress about unpleasant sexual images repeating in your mind

 

If you or a loved one experience several of these symptoms for more than 2 weeks, seek help immediately.