Symptoms of OCD

First come the obsessions-unwanted ideas or impulses that occur over and over again and are meant to drive out fears, often of harm or contamination. "This bowl is not clean enough. I must keep washing it." "I may have left the door unlocked." Or "I know I forgot to put a stamp on that letter."

Then come the compulsions––repetitive behaviors such as hand-washing and lock-checking and hoarding. Such behaviors are intended to mitigate the fear and reduce the threat of harm. But the effect does not last and the unwanted thoughts soon intrude again.

Sufferers may understand the uselessness of their obsessions and compulsions, but that is no protection against them. OCD can become so severe that it keeps people from leaving their house. The condition strikes males and females in equal proportions.

Recent posts on OCD

How to Approach Challenges with a Competitive Spirit

By Reid Wilson Ph.D. on June 23, 2017 in All about Anxiety
What is a ready-for-anything competitive spirit? It’s when we step forward with a point of view that says, “I have the skills to take on this challenge. I have a chance here.”

Obsessive Record and CD Collecting

By Mark D. Griffiths Ph.D. on June 07, 2017 in In Excess
A personal insight into the psychology of a record-collecting completist.

Why Intrusive Thoughts Are like My Cat Abraham

By Joel Minden, Ph.D. on May 30, 2017 in CBT and Me
Intrusive thoughts are like cats. The less you try to be the boss, the easier it is to peacefully coexist.

Brain Abnormalities In Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder?

New research on white matter alterations in adults with OCD

How to Reach Higher Goals by Lowering Your Expectations

By Reid Wilson Ph.D. on May 10, 2017 in All about Anxiety
Paul Hamm had been training for this specific competition for a decade; he was on the road to a gold medal. And after his fall, the way he gets back up is inspirational.

5 Things You Need to Know About Anxiety

"I'm so stressed out right now."

I Keep Good Stuff, You Hoard Junk: 10 Insights

By Susan K Perry Ph.D. on April 22, 2017 in Creating in Flow
A diversity of odd habits and rituals for quelling anxiety lies along the continuum between normal and diagnosable. You may recognize some of these compulsions.

Learning to Love the Mat

By Reid Wilson Ph.D. on April 10, 2017 in All about Anxiety
You can expect to end up on the mat repeatedly. But the less you worry about being thrown to the mat, the less likely you are to end up there.
Kristen Fuller

A True Story of Living With Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

The trials and tribulations associated with living with obsessive-compulsive disorder and how art therapy can be a successful approach for this mental health disorder.

Cerebellum Stimulation Influences Frontal Cortex Functioning

Stimulating the cerebellum normalizes frontal cortex activity in lab rats with abnormal dopamine processing, a new study reports. These findings could have many human applications.

Lena Dunham's Representations of Mental Illness

More recently viewers have seen a notable shift towards more accurate representations of mental illness. The controversial television series Girls on HBO leads the way.

A Profound Experience With the Toilet

By Reid Wilson Ph.D. on March 19, 2017 in All about Anxiety
In any distressing situation, we have only two choices: Accept or resist. You have to find a way to willingly welcome your uncertainty and distress.

HOCD: a Clinical Disorder vs. Pseudoscience

By David J Ley Ph.D. on March 02, 2017 in Women Who Stray
Homosexual Obsessive Compulsive Disorder sounds scary, but isn't caused by porn, and has nothing to do with straight people who get turned on by homosexual stimuli.

“The Noise in Your Head” Video Series

By Reid Wilson Ph.D. on February 22, 2017 in All about Anxiety
Follow a young woman who struggles with anxiety & applies treatment principles to her everyday life. She engages Anxiety in a competition to win her life back.

What is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder?

A brain region known as the basal ganglia appears to be important in treating and understanding obsessive compulsive disorder.

The Neuroscience of Deciding: Should I Stay or Should I Go?

By Christopher Bergland on February 13, 2017 in The Athlete's Way
Neuroscientists recently pinpointed how subareas within the prefrontal cortex drive behavior. These findings could lead to new treatments for impulse control disorders such as OCD.

Mental Illness and Violence: Would I Do That?

By Seth J. Gillihan Ph.D. on February 03, 2017 in Think, Act, Be
Many people are plagued by violent thoughts they have no desire to act on. Fortunately treatment can help.

My Worry: Is It a Signal or Noise?

By Reid Wilson Ph.D. on January 30, 2017 in All about Anxiety
Worries take two forms: signals and noise. Signals prompt you to take action because signals come with solutions. Noise comes with no solutions. Simply put, noise is static.

Religious & Traditional Healers for OCD: Helpful or Hurtful?

When there is a conflict between approaches, your client will not choose you, even with science on your side.

Novel by 20-Year-Old Is an Honest Look at Teen Mental Health

By Garth Sundem on January 18, 2017 in Brain Trust
"I hope that reading about characters who struggle will help people see that it's okay to struggle," says 20-year-old author Jennifer Yu.

Why Discomfort Can Be So Good for You

By Reid Wilson Ph.D. on January 03, 2017 in All about Anxiety
If we’re truly interested in living in the real world, we must train ourselves to cope with the insecurity of not knowing and the sensations that come with awkwardness.

Perfectionism vs. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

By Ralph Ryback M.D. on December 20, 2016 in The Truisms of Wellness
OCD is often misunderstood as a disorder that simply means being overly detailed or perfectionistic, when in fact this disorder can be debilitating for those who are affected.

Studying Anxiety, Our Toughest Challenger

By Reid Wilson Ph.D. on December 06, 2016 in All about Anxiety
What a poker champion can teach us about managing and overcoming anxiety

3 Things Most People Get Wrong About OCD

By Linda Esposito LCSW on December 06, 2016 in From Anxiety to Zen
The bizarre, random and irrational thoughts and behaviors are not that important when treating Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Here's what is.

Workaholism and Psychiatric Disorders

By Mark D. Griffiths Ph.D. on December 01, 2016 in In Excess
There has been an increasing amount of research into workaholism but was is the relationship between work addiction, ADHD, OCD and depressions?

People Who Are Unable To Love

Being in a relationship with a person who is incapable of love is one of the worst situations that a person can be in.

Why Your Clutter Is Killing You and What to Do About It

By Clifford N Lazarus Ph.D. on November 10, 2016 in Think Well
Are you a clutterbug, packrat or full-blown hoarder? Here's why your stuff could be weighing down your health and happiness. And what to start doing about it.

The Surprising Usefulness of Worry

By Reid Wilson Ph.D. on October 24, 2016 in All about Anxiety
Worry serves the essential function of helping us solve legitimate problems, but anxious worrying serves the opposite function.

Personality and the Brain, Part 7

After his injury, music literally draws Derek Amato's attention away from other tasks he has to perform.

How to Stop Thinking About an Ex

If your ex recently broke up with you, you may have OCD-like symptoms. The good news: standard self-help techniques for OCD may be able to speed up your recovery from the breakup.