Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a common psychiatric condition, affecting approximately 2% of the population worldwide. Patients with OCD experience obsessions – repeated, intrusive and unwanted thoughts, impulses, or images accompanied by distressing emotions (such as anxiety or disgust) – and compulsions – repetitive, ritualized behaviors that they feel compelled to perform, often in an effort to respond to or reduce the distress of the obsessions.
Common obsessions include concerns about germs, fear that harm will come to others, intrusive disturbing images (often violent, sexual, or blasphemous in nature), and an excessive sense of responsibility for other peoples’ well-being.
Common compulsions include repetitive hand-washing, ordering or symmetry-focused rituals, collecting and hoarding objects, and mental rituals like counting or reciting.
Obsessions and compulsions are often associated with a great deal of shame, which leads patients to hide their symptoms; many suffer in silence.