Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Overview

For people with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), daily life is filled with overwhelming impulses, persistent thoughts and the need to perform rituals repeatedly. A mental condition, OCD drives individuals to frequently check or do things over and over, fixate on nagging ideas or follow certain routines. OCD symptoms can become a heavy emotional burden, causing intense distress and anxiety.

Signs & Symptoms

The two main symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder are obsessions and compulsions. Obsessions are unwanted, repetitive and intrusive ideas, impulses or images. Compulsions are repetitive behaviors or mental acts usually performed to reduce the distress caused by obsessions.

Common examples of obsessive behavior:

  • Persistent fears that harm may come to you or a loved one
  • Overwhelming concern with being contaminated
  • Disturbing religious, violent or sexual thoughts
  • Excessive need to do things correctly or perfectly

Common examples of compulsive behavior:

  • Excessive checking of things like door locks, stoves, water faucets or light switches
  • Repeatedly making lists, counting, arranging or aligning things
  • Keeping or hoarding objects and having a strong emotional attachment to the items as well as difficulty organizing and discarding
  • Repeating routine actions a number of times until they feel just right
  • Unnecessary re-reading and re-writing
  • Mentally repeating phrases

Risk Factors

Family history is a risk factor, so if you have family members who suffer from OCD, you may be at risk for developing the disorder.

Stressful or traumatic events can also trigger disruptive thoughts and behaviors that are the characteristics of obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Services & Treatments

If you’re experiencing signs of obsessive-compulsive disorder, know that you’re not alone. 

Aurora’s behavioral health experts help individuals regain control of their thoughts and behaviors, letting them find a calmer, healthier life.

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