Obsessive-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.