What is OCD?

Broadly speaking, people who struggle with OCD experience some combination of obsessions and compulsions.


Are unwanted thoughts, images, or urges that are experienced as extremely fear or anxiety-provoking.


Are mental or physical acts focused on trying to manage obsessions and the anxiety associated with obsessions.

Some Common Types of OCD

Obsession with Germs

One of the most common examples of OCD is fear about germs or being contaminated. The person may spend a great deal of time and effort avoiding germs and staying clean

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Symmetry, Precision, Exactness

Sometimes people with OCD are constantly cleaning or organizing, not because they’re worried about germs, but because they feel extremely uncomfortable when things are out of order or “not right.” This tends to go beyond being a “neat freak.”

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Bad Thoughts

Some people are troubled by what they consider “bad thoughts.” For example, they may fear they will harm themselves or another person.  This does not mean that people with OCD are violent or aggressive—quite the opposite, which is why they are so concerned about harming someone else.

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Some people spend hours checking and re-checking doors, locks, appliances, and other items. Common fears underlying checking behaviors is that terrible harm will come to person or others (e.g., burglary, fire) if doors and windows aren’t locked, appliances turned off, etc.

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Repeating Rituals

Some people feel the urge to repeat movements, motions, or activities, or to engage in counting. A common obsession is the need to “do it right.”

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