This disorder is characterized by uncontrollable obsessions and compulsions that are excessive, unreasonable, and distressing


Intrusive or inappropriate recurring thoughts or impulses that cause anxiety; common obsessive thoughts include: thoughts about contamination, doubts about whether you correctly completed a task, aggressive impulses, thoughts that you may have accidentally harmed someone, embarrassing or distressing thoughts of a sexual, religious/sacrilegious, or inappropriate nature, a looming feeling that something “bad” is going to happen. In most cases, OCD usually involves both obsessions and compulsions; yet, a person with OCD may have only obsession or compulsion.


Repetitive behaviors or rituals that are performed to reduce anxiety or neutralize the obsessive thought; compulsions may involve behaviors such as:

  • Excessive cleaning and washing
  • Hoarding of useless items
  • Checking and re-checking
  • Repetitive time consuming routines
  • Saying or thinking things to get rid of the obsession

These behaviors or mental acts are aimed at reducing distress or preventing some dreaded event or situation; the obsessions or compulsions are generally time-consuming (taking up more than one hour per day) or cause significant impairment in social and occupational functioning.  The best treatment outcome for OCD is based combination of cognitive behavioral therapy (exposure and response prevention), medications and relaxation techniques.