OBSESSIVE-COMPULSIVE DISORDER (OCD)

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) involves experiencing intense obsessions and compulsions.

Obsessions are recurring and persistent thoughts, impulses, or images which result in intensely felt anxiety. These thoughts or images are often intrusive (not wanted by the sufferer and happening despite their best efforts), unreasonable, and distressing.

Here is a list of some commonly occurring obsessions, though you may experience yours as different than those listed below.

  • Thoughts about harming yourself or others
  • Violent/horrific images
  • Fear of speaking or shouting out insults or obscenities
  • Fear of acting on unwanted impulses (e.g. stabbing someone else)
  • Fear of stealing
  • Fear of being responsible for something terrible happening
  • Sexual thoughts, images, or urges
  • Fear of acting on “unacceptable” or “forbidden” impulses (incest, homosexuality, aggressive sexual acts)
  • Fear of being sacrilegious or blasphemous
  • Concern with right and wrong or morality
  • Fear that something bad will happen to someone unless things are in their correct place
  • Fear of saying things because they might become true
  • Fear of losing things
  • Intrusive nonviolent images, nonsense sounds, words or music
  • Fear involving dirt, germs, disease, bodily waste, or secretions
  • Fear of getting ill from possible contaminants
  • Fear of environmental contaminants (e.g. asbestos, radiation, toxic waste)
  • Fear of household items
  • Fear of animals (e.g. insects)

Compulsions are ritualistic behaviors that are done repeatedly to try and reduce anxiety and suppress or neutralize the obsession. Engaging in these compulsions often takes up a great deal of time and interferes markedly in the life of the sufferer.

Below is a list of some commonly occurring obsessions, though you may experience your symptoms differently.

  • Excessive or ritualized cleaning of the body
  • Excessive cleaning of household items or objects
  • Checking locks, stove, appliances, etc.
  • Checking that you did not/will not harm yourself or others
  • Checking that nothing terrible did/will happen
  • Checking that you didn’t make a mistake
  • Repeating various routine activities
  • Collecting or not being able to get rid of objects that are useless
  • Mental rituals (e.g. repeating a prayer, mantra, etc.)
  • Excessive list making
  • Needing to tell, ask, or confess, or touch, tap, or rub
  • Ritualized eating behaviors
  • Engaging in superstitious behaviors (e.g. carrying something for good luck)
  • Compulsive hair pulling

If you or a loved one is suffering from OCD, please remember that effective evidence-based anxiety treatments have been consistently shown to help individuals with OCD to take back their lives from the clutches of anxiety.

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