Uncontrollable Obsessions & Compulsions

What is Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder?

Obsessive-Compulsive disorder (OCD) is a disorder in which someone is consistently plagued by recurrent obsessive thoughts and is taunted by urges to perform specific rituals. Compulsive behaviors can take hours to perform, causing a great disturbance in everyday life. These rituals are performed in hopes of getting rid of negative and distressing thoughts. Unfortunately, performing these tasks only provides temporary relief, while ignoring them brings great anxiety.

Over 2% of the U.S. population between the ages of 18 and 54 is affected by obsessive-compulsive disorder. This disorder is a type of anxiety disorder. Anyone can have obsessive-compulsive disorder, and it seems to affect both men and women equally. In most cases, OCD begins in childhood.

What are Obsessions?

Obsessions are persistent and irrational thoughts that infiltrate the mind causing extreme worry and unwanted impulses. The anxiety brought about by these disturbing thoughts, however irrational they may be, greatly affects the ability to live one’s life.

What are Compulsions?

Compulsions are rituals an individual performs in order to temporarily suppress distressing thoughts and keep something bad from occurring. These repetitive actions, although they may seem unnecessary, if not performed, great stress and worry takes place.

Examples/Symptoms of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

  • Repeated hand washing or showering
  • Counting
  • Desire for each side of the body to feel even
  • Obsession with committing a religious sin
  • Touching
  • Obsession with lucky numbers
  • Cancelling out bad thoughts with good thoughts
  • Arranging objects in specific ways
  • Checking
  • Fear of harming others
  • Performing actions until things seem “just right”


This blog is for informational purposes only and should not be a substitute for medical advice. We understand that everyone’s situation is unique, and this content is to provide an overall understanding of substance use disorders. These disorders are very complex, and this post does not take into account the unique circumstances for every individual. For specific questions about your health needs or that of a loved one, seek the help of a healthcare professional.