Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

(Also Known As: Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Compulsion, Obsession, OCD)

(Reviewed by: Paul Peterson, Licensed Therapist)

What is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder?

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is a kind of anxiety disorder wherein an individual has little power to control undesirable thoughts (obsessions) and is compelled to perform repetitive behaviors (compulsions). With Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, the individual is aware that his or her obsessions and compulsions are illogical, yet they feel powerless in controlling or overcoming them 1.

What are Obsessions and Compulsions?

Obsessions are involuntary and uncontrollable thoughts, impulses, or images that consistently find their place in the mind of the individual. These are undesirable thoughts that are irrational but somehow the individual cannot control or stop them. Eventually, they become distractions or disturbances.

Compulsions are repetitive behaviors that an individual feels he or she is compelled to do. Such behavior is performed in an effort to make the obsessive thoughts disappear. However, those efforts are usually futile as the obsessions generally come back with more intensity. The compulsions, on the other hand, can lead to anxiety as they become more challenging and time consuming.

Categories of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

An individual suffering from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder usually falls into one of the following categories:

  • Washers fear being contaminated. Usually, patients falling under this category perform cleaning or hand-washing rituals.
  • Checkers religiously check things that they feel are linked to potential harm or danger. They are people who make sure that the oven is turned off or the doors are locked, etc.
  • Doubters and Sinners worry that if things are not done right or are imperfect, something terrible will happen or a punishment awaits.
  • Counters and Arrangers are concerned with establishing order and symmetry. An individual belonging to this category of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder usually has superstitious beliefs about colors, numbers, or sequences.
  • Hoarders believe that bad luck will strike if they throw anything away. The compulsion of an individual belonging to this category is to hoard things that they do not need or use.

Could You Have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder?

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Topics

Related Conditions

Anxiety Disorder NOS – Pathological Fears, Excessive Worry, Anxiousness, Phobias, Stress
Dependent Personality Disorder- Pervasive Psychological Dependence on Others, Dependent, Anxiety, Depression, Excessive Need for Others in Order to Become Functional
Narcissistic Personality Disorder – Grandiosity, Self Admiration, Lack of Empathy, Obsession for Oneself, Self-Centeredness
Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder – Obsession for Perfection, Obsession for Order and Rules, Perfectionist