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Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a type of anxiety disorder. If you have OCD, you have frequent, upsetting thoughts called obsessions. To try to control the thoughts, you feel an overwhelming urge to repeat certain rituals or behaviors. These are called compulsions.
Examples of obsessions are a fear of germs or a fear of being hurt. Compulsions include washing your hands, counting, checking on things, or cleaning. With OCD, the thoughts and rituals cause distress and get in the way of your daily life.
Researchers think brain circuits may not work properly in people who have OCD. It tends to run in families. The symptoms often begin in children or teens. Treatments include therapy, medicines, or both. One type of therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, is useful for treating OCD.
NIH: National Institute of Mental Health
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (American Academy of Family Physicians) Also in Spanish
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) (National Institute of Mental Health)
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: When Unwanted Thoughts or Irresistible Actions Take Over (National Institute of Mental Health) Also in Spanish
Diagnosis and Tests
- Screening for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) (Anxiety and Depression Association of America)
- Disorders Related to (And Sometimes Confused with) OCD (International OCD Foundation)
- Hoarding: Issues for the Fire Service (National Fire Protection Association) - PDF
- How to Find the Right Therapist (International OCD Foundation)
- Hoarding disorder (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research) Also in Spanish
- Problem That Piles Up: When Hoarding Is a Disorder (National Institutes of Health) Also in Spanish
- Genetics Home Reference: obsessive-compulsive disorder (National Library of Medicine)
Statistics and Research
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder among Adults (National Institute of Mental Health)
Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)
- Article: A Systematic Review of the Utility of Electroconvulsive Therapy in...
- Article: Effects of atorvastatin on treatment-resistant obsessive-compulsive disorder: A double-blind randomized...
- Article: Intraindividual variability in symptoms consistently predicts sudden gains: An examination...
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder -- see more articles
Find an Expert
- American Psychiatric Association
- Anxiety and Depression Association of America
- Behavioral Health and Substance Abuse Treatment Services Locator (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration)
- Find a Therapist (Anxiety and Depression Association of America)
- Help for Mental Illnesses (National Institute of Mental Health)
- National Institute of Mental Health
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (Nemours Foundation)