What are the common symptoms of obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)?

Symptoms of OCD and their severity may vary from person to person. They also may vary in severity throughout one’s lifetime and increase in times of stress. Common symptoms of OCD include:
  • Obsessions: recurring thoughts, urges, or mental images that cause uneasiness 
  • Compulsions: repetitive behaviors that people with OCD feel the urge to do because of their obsessions 
  • Making up rules or rituals in an attempt to control obsessive thoughts
Obsessions often have themes. Common examples of obsessions include:
  • Unpleasant sexual images
  • Thoughts about harming or having harmed someone
  • Fear of contamination or germs
  • Doubts that you’ve done something such as lock the door or turn off the stove
  • Needing things to be orderly or symmetrical
  • Unwanted thoughts that may include aggression, sexual, or religious images.
Compulsions are done by people with OCD in an attempt to relieve stress or anxiety or prevent bad things from happening. Some examples of compulsions include:
  • Washing hands
  • Cleaning
  • Counting
  • Orderliness
  • Following a strict routine
  • Demanding reassurances 
  • Silently repeating a prayer, word, or phrase
  • Checking things repeatedly (such as making sure the door is locked or the stove is off)
obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) symptoms

  • “Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.” National Institutes of Health. National Institute of Mental Health, Jan. 2016. Web. 16 Nov. 2017.
  • "Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)." Mayo Clinic. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 17 Sep. 2016. Web. 16 Nov. 2017.
  • “Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.” National Alliance on Mental Illness. NAMI, n.d. Web. 16 Nov. 2017. 


From Our Blog: Life's Most Common Stressors & Cures
The following infographic lays out some of life's most common sources of stress. In addition, you will find simple yet practical tips to help steer clear of these pitfalls, or develop a healthier relationship with those you can't avoid:
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