Anxiety Home > Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Symptoms

In the case of obsessive-compulsive disorder, symptoms can range from anxious thoughts to a preoccupation with symmetry to a fear that you will harm people close to you. Most adults with the condition recognize that the associated rituals and fears are senseless, but they cannot seem to help themselves. Children with the condition may not realize that their behaviors are out of the ordinary.

Signs and Symptoms of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: An Introduction

A lot of healthy people can identify with some obsessive-compulsive disorder symptoms, such as checking the stove several times before leaving the house. But for people who actually have the condition, such activities consume at least an hour a day, are very distressing, and interfere with daily life.
Most adults with obsessive-compulsive disorder recognize that what they're doing is senseless, but they can't stop it. Some people, however, particularly children with obsessive-compulsive disorder, may not realize that their behavior is out of the ordinary.

Common Symptoms

If you have obsessive-compulsive disorder, or OCD, you may experience some or all of the following symptoms:
  • Anxious thoughts or rituals you feel you can't control
  • Persistent, unwelcome thoughts or images
  • An urgent need to engage in certain rituals
  • Obsession with germs or dirt so that you wash your hands over and over
  • Feeling filled with doubt
  • Feeling the need to check things repeatedly
  • Frequent thoughts of violence
  • Fear that you will harm people close to you
  • Long periods of touching things or counting
  • Preoccupation with order or symmetry
  • Persistent thoughts of performing sexual acts that are repugnant to you
  • Being troubled by thoughts that are against your religious beliefs.
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Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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