Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is characterized by unreasonable thoughts and fears
(obsessions) that lead you to do repetitive behaviors (compulsions). It's also possible to have only obsessions or only compulsions and still have OCD.
Sign and symptoms
OCD obsessions are repeated, persistent and unwanted urges or images that cause distress or anxiety. You might try to get rid of them by performing a compulsion or ritual. These obsessions typically intrude when you're trying to think of or do other things.
Obsessions often have themes to them, such as:
+ Fear of contamination or dirt
+ Having things orderly and symmetrical
+ Aggressive or horrific thoughts about harming yourself or others
+ Unwanted thoughts, including aggression, or sexual or religious subjects
Examples of obsession signs and symptoms include:
+ Fear of being contaminated by shaking hands or by touching objects others have touched + Doubts that you've locked the door or turned off the stove
+ Intense stress when objects aren't orderly or facing a certain way
+ Images of hurting yourself or someone else
+ Thoughts about shouting obscenities or acting inappropriately
+ Avoidance of situations that can trigger obsessions, such as shaking hands
+ Distress about unpleasant sexual images repeating in your mind
OCD compulsions are repetitive behaviors that you feel driven to perform. These repetitive behaviors are meant to prevent or reduce anxiety related to your obsessions or prevent something bad from happening. However, engaging in the compulsions brings no pleasure and may offer only a temporary relief from anxiety.
You may also make up rules or rituals to follow that help control your anxiety when you're having obsessive thoughts. These compulsions are often not rationally connected to preventing the feared event.
As with obsessions, compulsions typically have themes, such as:
+ Washing and cleaning
+ Demanding reassurances
+ Following a strict routine