Signs and Symptoms
People with OCD may have symptoms of obsessions, compulsions, or both. These symptoms can interfere with all aspects of life, such as work, school, and personal relationships.
Obsessions are repeated thoughts, urges, or mental images that cause anxiety. Common symptoms include:
- Fear of germs or contamination
Unwanted forbidden or taboo thoughts involving sex, religion, and harm
Aggressive thoughts towards others or self
Having things symmetrical or in a perfect order
- Excessive cleaning and/or handwashing
Ordering and arranging things in a particular, precise way
Repeatedly checking on things, such as repeatedly checking to see if the door is locked or that the oven is off
- Can't control his or her thoughts or behaviors, even when those thoughts or behaviors are recognized as excessive
Spends at least 1 hour a day on these thoughts of behaviors
Doesn’t get pleasure when performing the behaviors or rituals, but may feel brief relief from the anxiety the thoughts cause
Experiences significant problems in their daily life due to these thoughts or behaviors
Symptoms may come and go, ease over time, or worsen. People with OCD may try to help themselves by avoiding situations that trigger their obsessions, or they may use alcohol or drugs to calm themselves. Although most adults with OCD recognize that what they are doing doesn’t make sense, some adults and most children may not realize that their behavior is out of the ordinary. Parents or teachers typically recognize OCD symptoms in children.
If you think you have OCD, talk to your doctor about your symptoms. If left untreated, OCD can interfere in all aspects of life.