Joshua Cole.

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You are here: Home What is OCD? Symptoms of OCD

Symptoms of OCD


OCD is split into two types of symptoms, Obsessions and compulsions. Most people with OCD have both symptoms, although it is not unheard of for only one to be present.


Obsessions are excessive, unwanted, persistent thoughts or feelings that cause the person distress or anxiety. The person with OCD finds it difficult or impossible to control these thoughts the person believes the only way to deal with them is to carry out an action to subdue these thoughts (compulsions). The obsessive thoughts are not everyday worries about life. The person can usually recognise that the thoughts are irrational but can not simply dismiss them.


Compulsions are the acts or rituals that people are driven to follow in order to try and relieve the obsessive thoughts. They are often repetitive acts and have to adhere to certain ‘rules’ in order for them to be effective. Compulsions in OCD do not bring pleasure to the person; the only purpose they serve is to bring relief. Some compulsions can lead to harm, for example people who hand wash excessively may wash their hands so much that they become inflamed and sore.

Some of the typical obsessions and related compulsions are:

Obsession Relative compulsion
Fear of germs/contamination Excessive hand washing/cleaning
Need for perfection Repetitive actions until things are just so.
Thoughts of someone being harmed Repetitive actions/words so as not to cause (imagined) harm to someone.

Doubt about religious or moral beliefs
Counting, either physical objects or in their head.
Loosing control/aggressiveness Checking
Sexual urges and thoughts Touching







You are here: Home What is OCD? Symptoms of OCD