Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Symptoms

Obsessive compulsive disorder symptoms usually include both obsessions and compulsions. But it’s also possible to have only obsession symptoms or only compulsion symptoms. About one-third of people with OCD also have a disorder that includes sudden, brief, intermittent movements or sounds ( known as tics). OCD obsessions are repeated, persistent and unwanted urges or images that cause distress or anxiety. The OCD sufferers tries to get rid of them by performing a compulsion or ritual. These obsessions typically intrude when they are trying to think normally or perform activities.

Obsessions often have themes to them, such as:
  • Fear of contamination or dirt
  • Having things orderly and symmetrical
  • Aggressive or horrific thoughts about harming yourself or others
  • Unwanted thoughts, including aggression, or sexual or religious subjects
Examples of obsession signs and symptoms include:
  • Fear of being contaminated by shaking hands or by touching objects others have touched
  • Doubts that you’ve locked the door or turned off the stove
  • Intense stress when objects aren’t orderly or facing a certain way
  • Images of hurting yourself or someone else
  • Thoughts about shouting obscenities or acting inappropriately
  • Avoidance of situations that can trigger obsessions, such as shaking hands
  • Distress about unpleasant sexual images repeating in your mind

Compulsion symptoms

OCD compulsions are repetitive behaviors that one feels driven to perform. These repetitive behaviors are meant to prevent or reduce anxiety related to obsessions or prevent something bad from happening. However, engaging in the compulsions brings no pleasure and may offer only a temporary relief from anxiety. OCD sufferers may also make up rules or rituals to follow that help control their anxiety when they’re having obsessive thoughts. These compulsions are often not rationally connected to preventing the feared event.

As with obsessions, compulsions typically have themes, such as:
  • Washing and cleaning
  • Counting
  • Checking
  • Demanding reassurances
  • Following a strict routine
  • Orderliness
Examples of compulsion signs and symptoms include:
  • Hand-washing until your skin becomes raw
  • Checking doors repeatedly to make sure they’re locked
  • Checking the stove repeatedly to make sure it’s off
  • Counting in certain patterns
  • Silently repeating a prayer, word or phrase
  • Arranging your canned goods to face the same way

Symptoms usually begin gradually and tend to vary in severity throughout a person’s life. Symptoms generally worsen when they’re experiencing increased stress in life. OCD, considered a lifelong disorder, can be so severe and time-consuming that it becomes disabling. Most adults recognize that their obsessions and compulsions don’t make sense, but that’s not always the case. Children may not understand what’s wrong.

When to see a doctor for obsessive compulsive disorder symptoms

There’s a difference between being a perfectionist and having OCD. OCD thoughts aren’t simply excessive worries about real problems in your life. Perhaps you keep the floors in your house so clean that you could eat off them. Or you like your knickknacks arranged just so. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you have OCD. As with many mental health disorders, it is recommended you seek professional help if your obsessions and compulsions are affecting your quality of life. If you find that obsessive compulsive disorder symptoms are present in your life, our expert team of medical professionals and therapists can provide you with obsessive compulsive disorder treatment. People with OCD may be ashamed and embarrassed about the condition, but they only way to meaningfully improve quality of life is to get professional help.

Dr. Raul J. Rodriguez

Dr. Raul Rodriguez

DABPN, DABAM, MRO