SPHERES-editObsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a type of anxiety disorder that causes you to experience obsessive, unwanted thoughts and to compulsively and repeatedly perform tasks to try to get rid of those thoughts. Some common obsessive thoughts include excessive neatness, fear of germs, or worrying that you might think bad thoughts. A few common compulsive behaviors include frequent hand-washing, repeatedly checking zippers or buttons on clothes, and constantly cleaning or organizing things. The effects of OCD range from mild to severe. OCD can greatly impair how you function socially, at your job, or in school. OCD is not a life-threatening condition, but it can cause major disruption in your relationships and daily functioning. People with OCD often need to make great changes in their lives because of the disturbing thoughts and repetitive behaviors.

Like all Anxiety Disorders , OCD can be treated. But if symptoms are left untreated, they often become more severe.

Symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) vary. Anxiety is a major symptom of OCD, and significant anxiety can interfere with the quality of your life. Repetitive behaviors (compulsions) often are closely connected to the disturbing thoughts (obsessions). For example, if you fear germs, you may wash your hands over and over again. Common obsessive thoughts:

  • Fear of dirt or germs or over concern about body smells/secretions or the proper functioning of the body
  • Overconcern with order, neatness, and exactness
  • Fear of thinking bad thoughts or doing something embarrassing
  • Constantly thinking of certain sounds, words, or numbers or a preoccupation with counting or checking
  • Constant need for approval or the need to apologize
  • Fear that something terrible will happen or fear of harming yourself or someone else.

INSTRUCTIONS: Check the box next to any of the statements that you AGREE with:

I frequently have intrusive thoughts about dirt, contamination, germs and impurities.

I often think about or have images of harm, injury, or misfortune happening to myself or people who are close to me.

I have a great deal of difficulty stopping certain thoughts. They seem to repeat in my mind no matter what I do to stop them.

I frequently doubt or question whether I did my daily tasks and chores correctly. I spend a lot of time thinking about how well I do daily tasks and activities.

I am overly concerned about making mistakes in almost everything I do.

Daily decisions, even simple or common decisions, often take me a very long time to resolve.

I often feel compelled to clean myself, wash my hands, keep my clothes clean, or keep my house in perfect order. If things are not extremely clean or tidy, I become very anxious.

On a daily basis I check and recheck ordinary tasks several times to make sure I have done them correctly or completely. (Making sure doors are locked, the oven is turned off, the faucets are shut, all food has been put away, Etc.)

I frequently follow rigid or strict routines and paterns of behavior while performing everyday tasks such as getting dressed, preparing food, bathing, or getting ready for work or school. And/Or I keep most of my things in a very particular order and become anxious if things are changed.

I seem to have very little control over my repetitive or superstitious actions and behaviors.


INTERPRET YOUR SCORE: These scores are designed to give you an indication of difficulties you may be having. The tests on this website are NOT intended to replace actual consultation with a professional, nor to result in actual clinical diagnoses. If your symptoms are intense, persistent or become uncontrollable, you are encouraged to follow the therapeutic advice on these pages, discuss your difficulties with family and loved ones, and seek professional assistance through the services available from this website or elsewhere.

0 to 3 - Although you sometimes have difficulty with being overcautious, perfectionistic or anxious about maiantaining order, you do not appear to have enough clinical symptoms for a diagnosis of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. The advice on the following pages may still be useful to you.

4 to 6 - You are reporting several of the clinical symptoms found in individuals with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Depending on how serious these symptoms interfere with your ability to perform daily tasks, function in school or at work, and accomplish tasks at home, you may want to further investigate the possibility of OCD. Some of the suggestions on the following pages will help you get started.

7 to 10 - You are experiencing many of the symptoms associated with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. The suggestions on the following pages may help, but it would be best to have a consultation with a professional in order to determine the severity and specifics of the difficulties you are having. A thorough evaluation is suggested if these symptoms have been preventing you from performing at your best in school, at work, or at home.

Learn how to RELAX

Exposure and response prevention involves repeated exposure to the source of your obsession. Then you are asked to refrain from the compulsive behavior you’d usually perform to reduce your anxiety. For example, if you are a compulsive hand washer, you might be asked to touch the door handle in a public restroom and then be prevented from washing up. As you sit with the anxiety, the urge to wash your hands will gradually begin to go away on its own. In this way, you learn that you don’t need the ritual to get rid of your anxiety – that you have some control over your obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors. Studies show that exposure and response prevention can actually “retrain” the brain, permanently reducing the occurrence of obsessive-compulsive disorder symptoms. This type of OCD therapy can even extinguish compulsive behaviors entirely.

Cognitive Therapy for OCD
The cognitive therapy component for obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) focuses on the catastrophic thoughts and exaggerated sense of responsibility you feel. A big part of cognitive therapy for OCD is teaching you healthy and effective ways of responding to obsessive thoughts, without resorting to compulsive behavior. Other treatments for obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD):

  • Medication – Antidepressants are sometimes used in conjunction with therapy for the treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder. However, medication alone is rarely effective in relieving the symptoms of OCD.
  • Family Therapy – Because OCD often causes problems in family life and social adjustment, family therapy is often advised. Family
  • therapy promotes understanding of the disorder and can help reduce family conflicts. It can also motivate family members and teach them how to help their loved one.
  • Group Therapy – Group therapy is another helpful obsessive-compulsive disorder treatment. Through interaction with fellow OCD sufferers, group therapy provides support and encouragement and decreases feelings of isolation.