Obsessive-Compulsive and Related Disorders

Obsessive-Compulsive and Related Disorders Previous item Anxiety & Stress Next item Insomnia

Obsessive-Compulsive and Related Disorders

People with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) experience unwanted intrusive thoughts and/or compulsions to get relief from these thoughts. While intrusive thoughts are common in the population, people with OCD are very bothered by these thoughts and interpret them as meaningful or threatening. Learn more about OCD and how to interrupt the cycle of intrusive thoughts and compulsions.

OCD is characterized by the presence of intrusive thoughts and/or compulsions that are unwanted, distressing, and interfere with your daily functioning. The specific content of the thoughts varies between individuals, and my be related to fears of contamination, causing harm to yourself or others, symmetry and order, or unwanted sexual thoughts. What these intrusive thoughts have in common is that they are perceived as threatening or meaningful in some way. Compulsions are repetitive behaviours (e.g., checking, cleaning, ordering) or mental acts (e.g., counting, praying, etc.) that are done to experience some relief from the distress caused by the obsessive thoughts.

Some individuals have difficulty with other types of repetitive thoughts and behaviours, including:

  • Body Dysmorphic Disorder: The preoccupation with one or more perceived deficits or flaws in physical appearance
    Trichotillomania: Chronic hair-pulling of the head, eyelashes, eyebrows, etc.
  • Excoriation (Skin Picking) disorder: Repetitive picking at one’s own skin causing skin damage.
  • Hoarding Disorder: Persistent difficulty discarding possessions.