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:

  • 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 feel compelled 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?

Websites

International OCD Foundation (IOCDF)
The mission of the IOCDFOC Foundation is to educate people about OCD, provide support for those affected by OCD, and to research causes and treatments for the illness. Some features of the website include information on OCD in different populations and a tools to find treatments and support groups in your area.

UM Depression Toolkit
The Depression Center Toolkit provides information, tools, support, and resources to guide you through your mental health journey.

MiTalk
A mental health resource database designed by CAPS.

Overcoming OCD: The College Student’s Guide
Information and resources for college students dealing with obsessive compulsive disorder.


Books

Freedom from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder by Jonathan Grayson, 2014
Provides Dr. Jonathan Grayson’s revolutionary and compassionate program for finally breaking the cycle of overwhelming fear and endless rituals

Obsessed: A Memoir of My Life with OCD by Allison Britz, 2017
A brave teen recounts her debilitating struggle with obsessive-compulsive disorder—and brings readers through every painful step as she finds her way to the other side—in this powerful and inspiring memoir.

The OCD Workbook: Your Guide to Breaking Free From Obsessive Compulsive Disorder by Bruce Hyman, 2005
The authors guide readers through a self-directed program for OCD that provides techniques for change based on the ideas of actively confronting fears and changing thought patterns.

The Imp of the Mind by Lee Baer, 2001
Dr. Lee Baer explores all aspects of obsessive bad thoughts, including root causes and possible treatments.

The Thought That Counts: A Firsthand Account of One Teenager’s Experience with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder by Jared Douglas, 2008
Author Jared K. Douglas shares his experiences of living with OCD and offers some helpful suggestions for managing the disorder in different areas of life.


For treatment and support options, see our find treatment services section or our support resources section.

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