top of page

What is Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)?

OCD is a highly misunderstood and misdiagnosed disorder. Because it presents in a wide variety of symptoms, many of which are not shown in the media's representation of OCD, the disorder often goes undetected for years. The International OCD Foundation describes obsessive-compulsive disorder in the following way:

"Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a mental health disorder that affects people of all ages and walks of life and occurs when a person gets caught in a cycle of obsessions and compulsions. Obsessions are unwanted, intrusive thoughts, images, or urges that trigger intensely distressing feelings. Compulsions are behaviors an individual engages in to attempt to get rid of the obsessions and/or decrease his or her distress.

Most people have obsessive thoughts and/or compulsive behaviors at some point in their lives, but that does not mean that we all have 'some OCD.' In order for a diagnosis of obsessive-compulsive disorder to be made, this cycle of obsessions and compulsions becomes so extreme that it consumes a lot of time and gets in the way of important activities that the person values."

Common OCD Obsessions

(Note: this is not an exhaustive list, and OCD obsessions can focus on a wide variety of themes.)



Losing Control



Unwanted Sexual Thoughts

Scrupulosity (Religious and Moral Obsessions)

Common OCD Compulsions

(Note: this is not an exhaustive list, and OCD compulsions can manifest in a variety of ways.)

Washing & Cleaning


Mental Compulsions



Reassurance Seeking

bottom of page