Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

“Fear can have a voice, but it doesn’t get a vote.”
Elizabeth Gilbert

What is Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder?

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a mental health disorder characterized by the presence of obsessions and compulsions. Intrusive thoughts can be experienced at times by everyone; however an OCD sufferer may experience these thoughts at a higher intensity and frequency. Obsessions are known as recurrent and persistent unwanted thoughts, urges or images which cause marked anxiety and distress. The OCD sufferer may attach meaning and value to the obsessions which can create uncomfortable feelings such as fear, disgust, doubt, or a “just right” feeling. Compulsions are defined as repetitive behaviors or mental acts that the individual feels compelled to perform in order to reduce their discomfort. However, compulsions only provide short-term relief for long-term consequences. Treatment helps the OCD sufferer change the way they respond to the obsessional fears. The gold standard treatment for OCD is Exposure and Response Prevention.

Do you have frequent unwanted thoughts that seem uncontrollable?
Do you engage in rituals or repetitive behaviors that interfere with work or school?
Is much of your time occupied by obsessive thoughts?
Do you feel driven to perform compulsions?

While these questions cannot assess if you meet the criteria for the diagnosis, it can help you evaluate if you need treatment by consulting with a trained professional.

Common OCD Subtypes

Contamination OCD Perfectionism OCD
Emotional Contamination OCD Perinatal/Postpartum OCD
Existential OCD Real Event OCD
False Memory OCD Relationship OCD
Harm OCD Responsibility OCD
Just Right OCD Scrupulosity (Moral & Religious Themes)
Meta OCD Sensorimotor OCD
Pedophilia OCD Sexual Orientation OCD