Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a type of anxiety disorder. If you have OCD, you have repeated, upsetting
thoughts called obsessions. You do the same thing over and over again to try to make the thoughts go away.
Untreated, OCD can take over your life.

Obsessions are involuntary, seemingly uncontrollable thoughts, images, or impulses that occur over and over again in your mind. You don’t want to have these ideas – in fact, you know that they don’t make any sense. But you can’t stop them. Unfortunately, these obsessive thoughts are usually disturbing and distracting.

Compulsions are behaviors or rituals that you feel driven to act out again and again. Usually, compulsions are performed in an attempt to make obsessions go away. For example, if you’re afraid of contamination, you might develop elaborate cleaning rituals. However, the relief never lasts. In fact, the obsessive thoughts usually come back stronger. And the compulsive behaviors often end up causing anxiety themselves as they become more demanding and time-consuming.

Most people with obsessive-compulsive disorder fall into one of the following categories:

• Washers are afraid of contamination. They usually have cleaning or hand-washing compulsions.
• Checkers repeatedly check things (oven turned off, door locked, etc.) that they associate with harm or danger.
• Doubters and sinners are afraid that if everything isn’t perfect or done just right something terrible will
happen or they will be punished.
• Counters and arrangers are obsessed with order and symmetry. They may have superstitions about
certain numbers, colors, or arrangements.
• Hoarders fear that something bad will happen if they throw anything away. They compulsively hoard
things that they don’t need or use.

Symptoms of OCD:
Common obsessive thoughts in OCD include:

• Fear of being contaminated by germs or dirt or contaminating others
• Fear of causing harm to yourself or others
• Intrusive sexually explicit or violent thoughts and images
• Excessive focus on religious or moral ideas
• Fear of losing or not having things you might need
• Order and symmetry: the idea that everything must line up “just right.”
• Superstitions; excessive attention to something considered lucky or unlucky

Common compulsive behaviors in OCD include:

• Excessive double-checking of things, such as locks, appliances, and switches.
• Repeatedly checking in on loved ones to make sure they’re safe.
• Counting, tapping, repeating certain words, or doing other senseless things to reduce anxiety.
• Spending a lot of time washing or cleaning.
• Ordering, evening out, or arranging things “just so.”
• Praying excessively or engaging in rituals triggered by religious fear.
• Accumulating “junk” such as old newspapers, magazines, and empty food containers, or other things you don’t have a use for.

Positives/Strengths of OCD:

• You may be very careful, organized, and detail-oriented. You're unlikely to make many mistakes, miss
a deadline....Your inclination to pore over details will probably ensure that all angles will be covered
• You value certainty, sameness and predictability in life...You can make a terrific partner or employee,
someone who is reliable and dependable.
• You will persevere at a task for minutes, hours, even days to get it done "just right"



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