Different Types of OCD: Symptoms and Examples (2023)

There are many different types of obsessions and compulsions. But most of them can be grouped into four categories: checking, order and symmetry, contamination, and taboo thoughts.

Read on to learn more about the most common types of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), risk factors, diagnosis, and treatment.

Different Types of OCD: Symptoms and Examples (1)

What Is Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder?

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a common, long-lasting mental health condition that involves disruptive, unwanted obsessions and compulsions.

Obsessions refer to thoughts, worries, urges, preoccupations, or mental images that are persistent, disruptive, and intrusive. Common examples include:

  • Fears of contamination, illness, or germs
  • Extreme worries about organization, symmetry, or cleanliness
  • Fear of losing or forgetting something
  • Repetitive doubts or questions
  • Violent or aggressive imagery or impulses
  • Distressing sexual imagery or thoughts
  • Religious/blasphemous thoughts

Compulsions refer to behaviors or rituals that people feel driven to repeat over and over. Usually, people participate in compulsive acts to reduce their distress about a recurring obsession. Examples may include:

  • Excessive handwashing
  • Repeatedly cleaning, arranging, or organizing
  • Checking locks, appliances (such as the oven), or switches over and over
  • Repeating certain phrases, words, or numbers
  • Requesting reassurance
  • Counting
  • Tapping
  • Praying

How Common Is Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder?

Estimates suggest that about 1.2% of adults in the U.S. meet the diagnostic criteria for OCD in a given year. OCD is more common among women than men.

Symptoms of OCD

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th edition (DSM-5), someone meets the diagnostic criteria for OCD if:

  • They have at least one obsession or compulsion that is time-consuming, causes significant emotional distress and interferes with their daily functioning.
  • They feel powerless to suppress the urge to think about their obsessions or perform their compulsion.
  • Their obsessions and/or compulsions are not primarily caused by another condition, such as generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) or an eating disorder.

Some people with OCD are not aware that their obsessions are excessive. Others know that their worries or impulses are not based on reality, but they still feel unable to control them.

Different Types of OCD

There is no single official way to divide OCD into subtypes. However, many researchers agree that there are certain common themes and symptom clusters among people with OCD.


One of the most common symptoms of OCD is compulsive checking. People with “checking OCD” may excessively check that their appliances are turned off, that their doors and windows are locked, or that they haven’t lost, damaged, or misplaced something important.

Checking rituals can also be related to excessive doubts and anxieties and a fear of losing control. There is often the fear of intentionally or unintentionally causing something bad to happen. For example, someone with OCD may not be able to leave the house for over an hour due to repeatedly checking the stove.

Order and Symmetry

Many people with OCD experience obsessions and compulsions related to order, symmetry, arranging, and counting. Symmetry-related compulsive rituals may involve lining things up over and over, constantly rearranging furniture to make it look “just right,” or repeatedly counting items to ensure they’re divided into equal groups.

(Video) Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) - causes, symptoms & pathology

Someone with an irrational preference for order may also become overly preoccupied with their body proportions and/or grooming habits, which can lead to disordered eating and poor self-image. Others feel compelled to perform excessive scheduling, planning, time management, and organizing rituals.


Fear of contamination is one of the most common obsessive themes among people with OCD. People who fear germs and/or contamination may clean surfaces or wash their hands compulsively, worry excessively about ingredients in food or household products, and even avoid touching things others have touched.

Some people with OCD also experience a fear of emotional contamination. Someone who fears emotional contamination may go out of their way to avoid people, places, or topics they see as “immoral” or “dirty.”

Ruminations or Intrusive Thoughts

Rumination refers to obsessive, intrusive, and unwanted thoughts around a certain theme. Rumination frequently involves taboo or forbidden topics, such as sexuality, violence, or religion.

Intrusive thoughts can take on many forms. Some people with OCD ruminate obsessively about their sexual orientation or constantly question their religious identity.

They may constantly worry that they will cheat on their partner, hurt themselves or someone else, or be sexually predatory, even in the absence of any evidence. Others experience intrusive, graphic sexual or violent mental imagery that they consider inappropriate or disturbing.

Often, rumination is related to an underlying obsession with guilt and excessive responsibility for harm. People who experience intrusive thoughts may perform compulsive rituals in an attempt to “neutralize” the perceived threat.

For example, someone who has forbidden thoughts around religion or blasphemy may pray excessively to protect themselves or others spiritually. Someone else may count, tap, or repeat certain movements or phrases because they believe it will save someone they love from harm.

What Is Existential OCD?

Other OCD Subtypes

Researchers have identified several other possible OCD subtypes, including:

  • Hoarding: Hoarding disorder is now a distinct diagnosis in the DSM-5. Hoarding refers to the compulsive, excessive collection of worthless or trivial items, often resulting in extreme clutter and disorganization. Some people with OCD hoard items that are related to an underlying obsession or fear.
  • Somatic obsessions: Somatic obsessions refer to preoccupation with body parts, body functions, and/or illness. For example, someone with OCD who experiences somatic obsessions may hyperfocus on the way they breathe or swallow or monitor themselves for signs of illness.
  • Pure OCD: Some researchers refer to OCD that involves only thought-based obsessions, with no behavioral or compulsive component, as “pure OCD.”
  • OCD with obsessive slowness: Some people with OCD are highly prone to perfectionism. In some instances, their fear of failure may lead them to take excessive time to complete a task to ensure it’s done “just right.”

Causes and Risk Factors

There is no single known cause of OCD. Instead, researchers believe that many factors contribute to the development of OCD, including:

  • Genetics: According to twin and family studies, OCD is often inherited. Having a sibling, parent, or child with OCD increases your risk of developing the disorder.
  • Life events: Stressful and/or traumatic life events may trigger the onset of OCD, especially in people who are already genetically predisposed to the disorder.
  • Brain structure: Studies suggest that certain differences in brain structure and function, such as hyperactivity in the orbitofrontal cortex (which helps manage emotions and decision-making), may influence the development of OCD symptoms.
  • Comorbid conditions: Many people with OCD have other mental health conditions, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), depression, and anxiety.

Age and sex may also play a role in the onset and development of OCD. OCD is usually diagnosed before the age of 25, with many people first showing symptoms during childhood or adolescence. It’s rare (though not impossible) for someone to be diagnosed with the disorder after the age of 35.

Meanwhile, studies suggest that women are approximately 1.6 times likelier than men to develop OCD during their lifetime.

OCD and Comorbidity

It’s common for people with OCD to have more than one mental health condition. A 2021 review and meta-analysis found that 69% of people with OCD had at least one other mental illness over the course of their lifetime.

(Video) 4 Types of OCD & How They Manifest

Diagnosis and Tests

If you suspect you may have OCD, your healthcare provider can refer you to a mental health therapist. They can diagnose you with OCD using your medical history, an understanding of your symptoms, and the criteria in the DSM-5.

Your healthcare provider may also perform a physical exam and other tests to rule out the possibility of any underlying physical conditions or comorbid mental health disorders.

Related Conditions

In the DSM-5, OCD appears under the category of “obsessive compulsive and related disorders.” OCD-related conditions within this umbrella category include:

  • Hoarding disorder: While hoarding is sometimes a symptom of OCD, hoarding disorder can also be diagnosed and treated as a distinct mental health condition. People with hoarding disorder have extreme difficulties in discarding items and controlling their impulses to collect items—even when their collections negatively affect their relationships, safety, health, and/or finances.
  • Skin picking disorder: People with skin picking disorder, also known as excoriation disorder or dermatillomania, pick at their skin persistently. Harmful effects may include skin lesions, emotional distress, and social isolation.
  • Trichotillomania: People with trichotillomania experience hair loss, emotional distress, difficulties with self-image, and poor self-esteem due to a persistent, uncontrollable impulse to pull or pluck out their hair.
  • Body dysmorphic disorder: Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) involves an overwhelming preoccupation with one’s body and looks. People with BDD often spend a great deal of time, money, and energy to improve or “fix” their appearance.

Other conditions that are sometimes mistaken for OCD or may appear alongside it include:

  • Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder: Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder (OCPD) is a mental condition that involves rigidity in thinking and behavior, excessive devotion to rules and perfectionism, and a preoccupation with maintaining control. OCD shares some symptoms with OCPD, but they are different conditions.
  • Anorexia nervosa: Certain eating disorders, such as anorexia nervosa (AN), are often comorbid with OCD. Some research suggests that about 35% to 44% of patients with AN also meet the diagnostic criteria for OCD. Meanwhile, about 10% of female patients with OCD also have AN.
  • Tourette syndrome: Tourette syndrome (TS) is a nervous system disorder that causes involuntary tics (repeated movements, sounds, and/or twitches). OCD and TS are related and often comorbid, especially in children and adolescents. About 60% of people with TS also meet the diagnostic criteria for OCD, and up to half of the children with OCD have experienced tics at some point.

OCD vs. OCPD: What Are the Differences?

How OCD Is Treated

Many people with OCD experience improvements with treatment. Studies suggest that about 50% of people with OCD will experience full remission of their symptoms after treatment. Many others are able to significantly improve their quality of life over time.

Psychotherapy is the typical first-line treatment for OCD. Many people with OCD benefit from a particular type of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) known as exposure and response prevention (EX/RP) therapy. In EX/RP therapy, patients gradually learn to confront their obsessions (exposure) while resisting the urge to perform compulsions in response (response prevention).

In some cases, antidepressants may be used in combination with psychotherapy to ease OCD symptoms. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)—antidepressants that work to increase the level of serotonin in the brain—have been found to be especially effective in treating people with OCD, particularly at higher dosage.

What Is Serotonin?

Serotonin, or 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT), is a neurotransmitter—a chemical messenger—in the central nervous system that helps to regulate mood, emotions, memory, pain tolerance, sleep, appetite, and sexual desire.

What Is Exposure Therapy?


Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a chronic mental disorder that involves obsessions (intrusive, persistent, and unwanted thoughts or worries), compulsions (rituals or behaviors that one feels driven to repeat), or both.

(Video) The Different Subtypes of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) | Dr. Rami Nader

There is no single known cause of OCD. Multiple factors, including genetics, trauma, and differences in brain structure, may contribute to the development of the condition.

Researchers have identified several common subtypes of OCD. OCD symptoms often fall into one of four clusters: checking, order/symmetry, germs/contamination, or rumination/intrusive thoughts. Other subtypes of OCD include hoarding and somatic obsessions.

OCD can be diagnosed by a mental health therapist using the criteria in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th edition (DSM-5). It is typically treated with antidepressants, psychotherapy, or both.

A Word From Verywell

Many people feel nervous to talk about their obsessions and compulsions with a healthcare provider. However, OCD is common, treatable, and manageable. If you think you may have OCD, talk to your healthcare provider about seeing a specialist to address your symptoms and improve your quality of life.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How many types of OCD are there?

    There is no single agreed-upon list of OCD subtypes. However, many researchers agree that OCD obsessions and related compulsions often fall into five main clusters. These symptom clusters include contamination, ordering and symmetry, rumination (including over-responsibility for harm, illness anxiety, and persistent doubts), taboo impulses and imagery (such as violent and/or sexual images), and hoarding.

  • Are there different levels of OCD?

    The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th edition (DSM-5) does not specify different levels of OCD severity. However, the DSM-5 does categorize OCD according to the patient’s level of insight.

    A person with OCD who has good or fair insight knows that their obsessions are not based on reality, while someone with poor insight thinks their obsessive beliefs are probably true. Meanwhile, a person with absent insight is entirely convinced that their beliefs are true.

    (Video) How many types of OCD are there?
  • Is OCD an anxiety disorder?

    OCD was previously categorized as an anxiety disorder. However, in 2013, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th edition (DSM-5) moved OCD out of that category and placed it under the umbrella of “obsessive compulsive and related disorders.” Other OCD-related disorders include hoarding disorder, body dysmorphic disorder, trichotillomania, and skin picking disorder.

  • Can perfectionism be considered a form of OCD?

    On its own, the trait of perfectionism is not a form of OCD. However, research suggests that perfectionism is common among people with OCD.

    A 2019 study found that children and adolescents who exhibited a tendency towards perfectionism were more likely to develop severe OCD symptoms and to meet the diagnostic criteria for OCD.


What are the 7 forms of OCD? ›

Common Types of OCD
  • Aggressive or sexual thoughts. ...
  • Harm to loved ones. ...
  • Germs and contamination. ...
  • Doubt and incompleteness. ...
  • Sin, religion, and morality. ...
  • Order and symmetry. ...
  • Self-control.

What are the 9 symptoms of OCD? ›

Compulsive behaviour
  • cleaning and hand washing.
  • checking – such as checking doors are locked or that the gas is off.
  • counting.
  • ordering and arranging.
  • hoarding.
  • asking for reassurance.
  • repeating words in their head.
  • thinking "neutralising" thoughts to counter the obsessive thoughts.

What are 5 of the main symptoms of OCD? ›

  • Fear of contamination or dirt.
  • Doubting and having difficulty tolerating uncertainty.
  • Needing things orderly and symmetrical.
  • Aggressive or horrific thoughts about losing control and harming yourself or others.
  • Unwanted thoughts, including aggression, or sexual or religious subjects.
Mar 11, 2020

What are rare types of OCD? ›

Some less common forms of OCD:
  • Relationship Obsessions.
  • Somatic (Body-Focused) Obsessions.
  • Existential Obsessions.
  • Need to Know Obsessions.

What is forbidden OCD? ›

Finally, the last most common type of OCD is forbidden thoughts and actions. People with this type of OCD get intrusive thoughts about things or actions that are inappropriate, offensive, or even violent. These thoughts are very distressing and the person who experiences them is unable to control them.

What is the biggest symptom of OCD? ›

If you have OCD, you'll usually experience frequent obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviours. An obsession is an unwanted and unpleasant thought, image or urge that repeatedly enters your mind, causing feelings of anxiety, disgust or unease.

What physical symptoms can OCD cause? ›

While people often talk about the emotional and mental effects of OCD, its physical effects are often left out of the discussion. Compulsions like handwashing can physically hurt your hands, self-soothing behaviors like hair-pulling can harm your skin, and studies have also linked OCD with chronic pain.

What does undiagnosed OCD look like? ›

Signs and symptoms of OCD

Obsessive thoughts: These obsession symptoms typically intrude other thoughts when you're trying to do or think about other things and may include: Fear of being contaminated by germs or dirt. Intrusive sexually explicit or violent thoughts. Fear of having a serious illness.

What are examples of OCD intrusive thoughts? ›

Fear of being contaminated by germs or dirt or contaminating others. Fear of losing control and harming yourself or others. Intrusive sexually explicit or violent thoughts and images. Excessive focus on religious or moral ideas.

What are obsessive thoughts examples? ›

Seven common intrusive thought examples
  • 1) The thought of hurting a baby or child. ...
  • 2) Thoughts of doing something violent or illegal. ...
  • 3) Thoughts that cause doubt. ...
  • 4) Unexpected reminders about painful past events. ...
  • 5) Worries about catching germs or a serious illness. ...
  • 6) Concern you might do something embarrassing.
Nov 1, 2021

How long do OCD symptoms have to be present? ›

International Classification of Diseases and OCD

For a definite diagnosis, obsessional symptoms or compulsive acts, or both, must be present on most days for at least two successive weeks and be a source of distress or interference with activities.

What are the most common type of obsession in OCD? ›

Some of the most common themes are contamination, harm, checking and perfection. People with OCD can have more than one subtype, and their subtype can change over time. Regardless of the OCD subtype, the treatment is the same. The gold standard of treatment for OCD is exposure and response prevention therapy, or ERP.

Is OCD a mental illness or disability? ›

Because obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is more often characterized as a mental illness rather than physical, it can make getting disability approval more complicated. Your insurance company may limit or deny you your benefits unless you're able to prove a physiological cause for your condition.

What type of personality disorder is OCD? ›

Among all the personality disorders, obsessive-compulsive personality disorder (OCPD) is perhaps most commonly linked with OCD. [2] It is characterized by a maladaptive pattern of excessive preoccupation with detail and orderliness, excessive perfectionism, and need for control over one's environment.

What is somatic OCD? ›

Somatic OCD is a form of OCD that causes intrusive thoughts are focused on autonomic, or non-conscious body processes and functions, like breathing, blinking, or physical sensations.

What is a mild form of OCD? ›

In the cases of mild OCD, the intrusive thoughts are not time-consuming in a significant way (at least, at first glance). Or maybe, even though the person is troubled by the thoughts, they do not notably impair his or her daily functioning.

What is false memory OCD? ›

False Memory OCD refers to a cluster of OCD presentations wherein the sufferer becomes concerned about a thought that appears to relate to a past event. The event can be something that actually happened (but over which there is some confusion) or it can be something completely fabricated by the mind.

What is the root cause of OCD? ›

Experts aren't sure of the exact cause of OCD. Genetics, brain abnormalities, and the environment are thought to play a role. It often starts in the teens or early adulthood. But, it can also start in childhood.

Is OCD psychotic? ›

While OCD is considered a mental health condition, psychosis is not. Psychosis describes a mental state in many other conditions, including OCD. While someone with OCD can experience psychosis, this does not mean that OCD is a psychotic disorder. This distinction is important to make, especially when seeking treatment.

Is OCD a trauma? ›

Not a few patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) have experienced events that affected the onset. The onset of OCD is not limited to the original meaning of trauma; rather, traumatic experiences such as unexpected exposure to contaminants or various stressful life events often cause the onset of OCD.

What emotion is frequently linked to OCD? ›

Patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) often experience aversive emotions such as anxiety, fear and disgust in response to obsessive thoughts, urges or images.

What are 3 major symptoms of obsessive compulsive disorder? ›

People with OCD may have symptoms of obsessions, compulsions, or both:
  • Obsessions are repeated thoughts, urges, or mental images that cause anxiety. They may involve things such as. ...
  • Compulsions are behaviors that you feel like you need to do over and over to try to reduce your anxiety or stop the obsessive thoughts.
Feb 23, 2021

Who does OCD most commonly affect? ›

OCD is a common disorder that affects adults, adolescents, and children all over the world. Most people are diagnosed by about age 19, typically with an earlier age of onset in boys than in girls, but onset after age 35 does happen.

What other mental illnesses can OCD lead to? ›

Although OCD is a severe mental illness to have, other mental illnesses also often occur with it, such as Body Dysmorphic Disorder, Panic Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), and depression. Unfortunately, a dual-diagnosis has the potential to make treatment a bit more severe and complicated sometimes.

What parts of the body does OCD affect? ›

Imaging, surgical, and lesion studies suggest that the prefrontal cortex (orbitofrontal and anterior cingulate cortexes), basal ganglia, and thalamus are involved in the pathogenesis of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

Can OCD cause neurological symptoms? ›

Once thought to be psychodynamic in origin, OCD is now generally recognized as having a neurobiological cause. Although the exact pathophysiology of OCD in its pure form remains unknown, there are numerous reports of obsessive-compulsive symptoms arising in the setting of known neurological disease.

How do doctors diagnose OCD? ›

Diagnosis and Tests

There's no test for OCD. A healthcare provider makes the diagnosis after asking you about your symptoms and medical and mental health history. Providers use criteria explained in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition (DSM-V) to diagnose OCD.

How do OCD symptoms start? ›

OCD typically begins in adolescence, but may start in early adulthood or childhood. The onset of OCD is typically gradual, but in some cases it may start suddenly. Symptoms fluctuate in severity from time to time, and this fluctuation may be related to the occurrence of stressful events.

What is magical thinking in OCD? ›

Magical thinking within OCD consists of unreasonable and irrational thought patterns that are characterized by connecting actions and events that have no relation whatsoever.

What are examples of OCD rituals? ›

Some of the most common examples of OCD rituals include:
  • Walking a certain way.
  • Performing a repetitive activity, such as locking, unlocking, and relocking a door.
  • Repeating precise movements like sitting up and down, blinking, or walking through a doorway a certain way.

What is the most common obsession? ›

Common obsessions include fears about contamination, worries about having left appliances on or doors unlocked, fear of acting in shameful or humiliating ways, discomfort about things being out of order, extreme concerns about superstitions such as unlucky numbers or colors, and excessive worries about keeping objects ...

What are obsessive personality traits? ›

OCPD traits include preoccupation and insistence on details, rules, lists, order and organisation; perfectionism that interferes with completing tasks; excessive doubt and exercising caution; excessive conscientiousness, as well as rigidity and stubbornness.

What are obsessive tendencies? ›

Those obsessions lead to compulsions — repetitive behaviors done to get relief from those distressing obsessive thoughts. Compulsive behaviors can include checking, washing, counting, repeating, mentally reviewing, or seeking reassurance from other people, Yip notes.

Why do OCD symptoms come and go? ›

While symptoms of an obsessive-compulsive thought style may fluctuate in intensity over time based on stress levels, a chronic or deteriorating course is common if you choose not to engage in appropriate treatment.

When do OCD symptoms get worse? ›

Does OCD Get Worse Over Time? Obsessive-compulsive disorder symptoms can intensify and worsen over the years. Symptoms can range in severity and how often you experience them, and you might notice them increase during particularly stressful times in your life.

Can OCD manifest physical symptoms? ›

Aside from the obvious compulsive behaviors a person with OCD displays, there are no physical signs of this disorder; however, a person with OCD can develop physical problems. For example, a person with a germ obsession may wash their hands so much that the skin on them becomes red, raw and painful.

What is daily life like for someone with OCD? ›

OCD can make it difficult for people to perform everyday activities like eating, drinking, shopping or reading. Some people may become housebound. OCD is often compounded by depression and other anxiety disorders, including social anxiety, panic disorder and separation anxiety.

Where is OCD most commonly found? ›

Industrial and population juggernaut China reports a higher percentage of OCD compared to the global average, with 1.63% of the population facing the disorder.

What are the benefits of having OCD? ›

  • People who have OCD are usually very attentive and pay great attention to detail.
  • They want everything to be perfect and consider themselves to be perfectionists.
  • That means they're great at meeting deadlines, completing excellent work, and managing time.
Jan 22, 2022

Can you get money for having OCD? ›

Qualifying for Disability Benefits Based on OCD

You may be able to qualify for Social Security disability benefits based on OCD if your condition is well documented and severely debilitating. OCD is evaluated by the Social Security Administration (SSA) as an anxiety-related disorder.

Can you get money for OCD? ›

Can someone with OCD be eligible for benefits? If OCD is impacting a person's day-to-day life or making it difficult for them to work, then they may be eligible to claim benefits to help pay for living costs like food, rent, and childcare.

Is OCD psychotic or neurotic? ›

Psychotic disorders, such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, can cause delusions, hallucinations, and other symptoms of psychosis. Non-psychotic disorders, which used to be called neuroses, include depressive disorders and anxiety disorders like phobias, panic attacks, and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

What is it called when you want everything to be even? ›

People who suffer from Symmetry OCD become fixated on the position and arrangement of certain objects and will feel uncomfortable and distressed when encountering items that are not aligned correctly or that or appear somehow incomplete.

Is OCD an inherited trait? ›

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a serious psychiatric disorder that affects approximately 2% of the populations of children and adults. Family aggregation studies have demonstrated that OCD is familial, and results from twin studies demonstrate that the familiality is due in part to genetic factors.

What mental illnesses coincide with OCD? ›

These include the obsessive preoccupations and repetitive behaviors found in body dysmorphic disorder, hypochondriasis, Tourette syndrome, Parkinson's disease, catatonia, autism, and in some individuals with eating disorders (eg, anorexia nervosa).

How many stages of OCD are there? ›

Researchers have determined that the symptoms of OCD tend to fall into four different categories, called OCD symptom dimensions. Each dimension includes both obsessions and compulsions.

What type of mental illness is OCD? ›

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a common, chronic, and long-lasting disorder in which a person has uncontrollable, reoccurring thoughts ("obsessions") and/or behaviors ("compulsions") that he or she feels the urge to repeat over and over.

Does OCD show up on a brain scan? ›

OCD was one of the first psychiatric disorders in brain scans showed evidence of abnormal brain activity in specific regions.

What is an OCD loop? ›

Put simply, the study suggests that the brains of OCD patients get stuck in a loop of “wrongness” that prevents sufferers from stopping behaviors even if they know they should.

What happens to brain during OCD? ›

Studies show that OCD patients have excess activity in frontal regions of the brain, including the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) and anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), which could explain their intrusive thoughts and high levels of anxiety, respectively.

What is OCD usually paired with? ›

Although OCD is a severe mental illness to have, other mental illnesses also often occur with it, such as Body Dysmorphic Disorder, Panic Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), and depression.

Is OCD neurological or mental health? ›

Once thought to be psychodynamic in origin, OCD is now generally recognized as having a neurobiological cause. Although the exact pathophysiology of OCD in its pure form remains unknown, there are numerous reports of obsessive-compulsive symptoms arising in the setting of known neurological disease.

How do I know if my OCD is mild or severe? ›

The doctor rates obsessions and compulsions on a scale of 0 to 25 according to severity. A total score of 26 to 34 indicates moderate to severe symptoms and 35 and above indicates severe symptoms.

How long do OCD symptoms have to be present for diagnosis? ›

Obsessional symptoms or compulsive acts or both must be present on most days for at least 2 successive weeks and be a source of distress or interference with activities.

Is OCD considered a mental disability? ›

Under the ADA it considers a disability to be “a physical or mental impairment” that limits someone's ability to functioning in daily activities. It includes OCD to be a disability. Those victims who have no choice but to live with OCD know how much its symptoms can interrupt day-to-day living.

Is OCD a manic disorder? ›

Recap. While they may share some symptoms, bipolar disorder often includes episodes of mania that distinguish it from OCD. Symptoms of OCD can also sometimes occurring during depressive episodes and disappear during manic episodes.

What are examples of intrusive thoughts? ›

A few common examples of unwanted intrusive thoughts include:
  • 1) The thought of hurting a baby or child. ...
  • 2) Thoughts of doing something violent or illegal. ...
  • 3) Thoughts that cause doubt. ...
  • 4) Unexpected reminders about painful past events. ...
  • 5) Worries about catching germs or a serious illness.
Nov 1, 2021


1. OCD Intrusive Thoughts: 4 Examples and A Look Into Compulsions
(Dr. Tracey Marks)
2. What are Intrusive Thoughts? [& When They Signal Pure O OCD]
3. Understanding Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
4. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Causes, SIgns and Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment.
(Medical Centric)
5. What is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)?
(The Lukin Center)
6. OCD: Signs & Symptoms of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder | Stanford
(Stanford Center for Health Education)
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