Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder | Symptoms

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What are some common obsessions?

The following are some common obsessions:

  • Fear of dirt or germs
  • Disgust with bodily waste or fluids
  • Concern with order, symmetry (balance) and exactness
  • Worry that a task has been done poorly, even when the person knows this is not true
  • Fear of thinking evil or sinful thoughts
  • Thinking about certain sounds, images, words or numbers all the time
  • Need for constant reassurance
  • Fear of harming a family member or friend

What are some common compulsions?

The following are some common compulsions:

  • Cleaning and grooming, such as washing hands, showering or brushing teeth over and over again
  • Checking drawers, door locks and appliances to be sure they are shut, locked or turned off
  • Repeating actions, such as going in and out of a door, sitting down and getting up from a chair, or touching certain objects several times
  • Ordering and arranging items in certain ways
  • Counting to a certain number, over and over
  • Saving newspapers, mail or containers when they are no longer needed
  • Seeking constant reassurance and approval

Written by familydoctor.org editorial staff

Reviewed/Updated: 04/14
Created: 04/94

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