Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

What is Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder?

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, OCD, is an anxiety disorder and is characterized by recurrent, unwanted thoughts (obsessions) and/or repetitive behaviors (compulsions). Repetitive behaviors such as handwashing, counting, checking, or cleaning are often performed with the hope of preventing obsessive thoughts or making them go away. Performing these so-called "rituals," however, provides only temporary relief, and not performing them markedly increases anxiety. more>>

Signs and Symptoms

People with OCD may be plagued by persistent, unwelcome thoughts or images, or by the urgent need to engage in certain rituals. They may be obsessed with germs or dirt, and wash their hands over and over. They may be filled with doubt and feel the need to check things repeatedly. more>>


Effective treatments for obsessive-compulsive disorder are available, and research is yielding new, improved therapies that can help most people with OCD and other anxiety disorders lead productive, fulfilling lives. more>>

Getting Help: Locate Services

Locate mental health services in your area, affordable healthcare, NIMH clinical trias, and listings of professionals and organizations. more>>

Related Information
Publications/Resource Materials

Read, print, or order NIMH booklets, fact sheets, and other publications on obsessive-compulsive disorder such as:

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: When Unwanted Thoughts Take Over
An easy-to-read booklet on obsessive-compulsive disorder that explains what it is, when it starts, how long it lasts and how to get help—includes a self-test.

Anxiety Disorders
A detailed booklet that describes the symptoms, causes, and treatments, of the major anxiety disorders, with information on getting help and coping.

More Publications>>

OCD and Anxiety Disorders Research