Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder characterized by uncontrollable, unwanted thoughts and repetitive, ritualized behaviors you feel compelled to perform.

If you have OCD, you probably realize that your obsessions and compulsions are irrational—but even knowing they don’t make sense doesn’t relieve your distress.

OCD can take many different forms. Some people with OCD are obsessed with germs or becoming contaminated by dirt or toxins. They may spend hours washing their hands or trying to clean contaminants off of surfaces. Others become hoarders, compulsively collecting items they believe they may need in the future.

Compulsions are the behaviors that you feel driven to do in response to your obsessions. Common compulsions include excessive hand-washing, counting, being pedantic about how to meticulously complete a task, checking (such as making sure the stove is off), and seeking reassurance.

OCD can be a debilitating disorder that interferes with your work, school, and social life. But with treatment, most people with OCD can learn to manage their symptoms and lead productive lives.