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Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder is a mental health condition characterized by persistent and unwanted thoughts (obsessions) and repetitive behaviors or mental acts (compulsions).  

Symptoms can cause significant distress, interfere with daily life, and are not due to medical conditions, substance use, or other mental health disorders.

Identifying Factors


Intrusive & unwanted thoughts, images, or urges that cause anxiety or distress.


Repetitive behaviors or mental acts performed to reduce anxiety or distress caused by obsessions.


Obsessions and compulsions take up a significant amount of time, usually over an hour a day.


Obsessions and compulsions interfere with daily activities, work, school, and/or relationships.

Common Examples


Excessive fear of germs, dirt, or contamination.

Example Obsession

Fear of touching doorknobs because of imagined germs.

Example Compulsion

Washing hands repeatedly


Need for things to be symmetrical or in a specific order.

Example Obsession

Feeling distressed if items on a shelf are not arranged perfectly.

Example Compulsion

Rearranging items repeatedly until they feel "just right."

Warning Signs

Intense Anxiety

Frequent feelings of extreme anxiety or panic due to obsessions.

Routine Interruption

Spending excessive time on rituals, impacting daily routines.

Emotional Distress

Becoming emotionally distressed by unwanted thoughts.

Social Isolation

Avoiding certain situations to prevent triggering obsessions.

Negative Impact

Obsessions and compulsions affecting relationships and well-being.