Conditions InDepth: Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
by Amy Scholten, MPH
OCD is an anxiety disorder. It is unwanted thoughts (obsessions) and/or repetitive behaviors (compulsions) that keep coming back. People with OCD feel they cannot control these behaviors or thoughts. Common habits are excess hand washing, counting, hoarding, touching objects, seeking reassurance, making lists, checking, or cleaning. People with OCD are driven to do these habits in hopes of easing anxiety or anxiety-linked obsessions. However, performing these habits only give temporary relief. OCD is often a chronic, illness that will return often. It can cause problems with relationships, work or school, wellness, and day to day life. Treatment can help.
The cause of OCD is not known. Genetics, your body's makeup, events in your life, and overall psychological health may all play a role.
OCD may be linked to other disorders, such as:
The first symptoms of OCD often begin during childhood, teen years, or early adulthood.
About OCD. International OCD Foundation website. Available at: https://iocdf.org/about-ocd. Accessed January 13, 2020.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dyname.... Accessed January 13, 2020.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). National Institute of Mental Health website. Available at: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/obsessive-compulsive-disorder-ocd/index.shtml. Accessed January 13, 2020.
Last reviewed May 2020 by Adrian Preda, MD
Last Updated: 7/29/2020
EBSCO Information Services is fully accredited by URAC. URAC is an independent, nonprofit health care accrediting organization dedicated to promoting health care quality through accreditation, certification and commendation.
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
To send comments or feedback to our Editorial Team regarding the content please email us at email@example.com. Our Health Library Support team will respond to your email request within 2 business days.