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Obsessive-Compulsive-Disorder (OCD)

What is obsessive-compulsive disorder?

People with OCD typically have recurring, excessive fears (or obsessions) that something terrible might happen.

These obsessions, which the person cannot control, are often troubling or upsetting. Common obsessions include:

  • Tip: Click here to watch a presentation on how to recognize and understand anxiety disorders in college students.

    Feeling dirty or contaminated despite frequent bathing or washing
  • Fear that a stove or kitchen appliance was left on even after checking to make sure it was turned off
  • Fear of accidentally harming someone (e.g., fear that you hit someone with your car when you go over a bump in the road)

Often, people with OCD cannot resist the urge to engage in repetitive behaviors (or compulsions) that help reduce the anxiety caused by the obsessions. Common compulsions include:

  • Washing hands excessively, often to the point that the person’s skin cracks and bleeds
  • Repeatedly checking locks to make sure that they are secure or checking the stove to make sure that it is turned off
  • Counting to a certain number over and over
  • Repeating a specific prayer or statement over and over

People with OCD spend a great amount of time each day (often hours) obsessing over their fears and/or engaging in compulsive behavior to help neutralize these fears

Want to learn more about obsessive-compulsive disorder?

Check out these resources:

Are you concerned that you may have OCD?

See our resource database for a list of books, websites, and local options for seeking professional evaluations and treatment.

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