People with obsessive compulsive disorder can have obsessions, compulsions, or both. Despite the stereotype, OCD isn’t just about order and cleanliness. Obsessions can include:

  • Intrusive sexual thoughts
  • Thoughts of harm to self or others
  • Phobias
  • Symmetry/order
  • Religious thoughts
  • Safety
  • Cleanliness (e.g. germs, poisons, body fluids)

Sometimes the anxiety connected with these repetitive thoughts can be reduced, briefly, by performing a specific activity – for example, checking to make sure all the doors are locked. These behaviours are called compulsions, and can include:

  • Washing and cleaning
  • Checking (e.g. that doors are locked, the stove is turned off)
  • Hoarding
  • Counting (e.g. doing things in groups of four, counting steps, counting people)
  • Ordering and arranging
  • Repeating (e.g. speech, movements)

  OCD facts

  OCD treatment

  OCD clinical trial

  What causes OCD?

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