Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is characterized by unreasonable thoughts and fears (obsessions) that lead you to do repetitive behaviors (compulsions). Its also possible to have only obsessions or only compulsions and still have OCD.
With OCD, you may or may not realize that your obsessions arent reasonable, and you may try to ignore them or stop them. But that only increases your distress and anxiety. Ultimately, you feel driven to perform compulsive acts in an effort to ease your stressful feelings.
OCD often centers around themes, such as a fear of getting contaminated by germs. To ease your contamination fears, you may compulsively wash your hands until theyre sore and chapped. Despite efforts to ignore or get rid of bothersome thoughts, the thoughts or urges keep coming back. This leads to more ritualistic behavior — and a vicious cycle thats characteristic of OCD.
Obsessions often have themes to them, such as:
Examples of obsession signs and symptoms include:
If you or a loved one experience several of these symptoms for more than 2 weeks, seek help immediately.