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Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

For information about OCD: 1.800.NEWS.4.OCD


Government Resources

OCD Ritual Behaviours explained from NIMH


Obsessive-compulsive disorder, or OCD, involves anxious thoughts or rituals you feel you can't control. If you have OCD, you may be plagued by persistent, unwelcome thoughts or images, or by the urgent need to engage in certain rituals.

You may be obsessed with germs or dirt, so you wash your hands over and over. You may be filled with doubt and feel the need to check things repeatedly. You may have frequent thoughts of violence, and fear that you will harm people close to you. You may spend long periods touching things or counting; you may be pre-occupied by order or symmetry; you may have persistent thoughts of performing sexual acts that are repugnant to you; or you may be troubled by thoughts that are against your religious beliefs.


Non-profit resources

OCF - The Obsessive - Compulsive Foundation


"OCD involves having both obsessions and compulsions. A person with OCD may sometimes have one or the other.

Common obsessions are: contamination fears of germs, dirt, etc. imagining having harmed self or others, imagining losing control or aggressive urges, intrusive sexual thoughts or urges, excessive religious or moral doubt, forbidden thoughts A need to have things "just so" A need to tell, ask, confess common compulsions: washing repeating checking touching counting...

The Obsessive-Compulsive Foundation (OCF), with more than 10,000 members, is an international not-for-profit organization composed of people with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and related disorders, their families, friends, professionals and other concerned individuals.
Founded by a group of individuals with OCD in 1986, the mission of the OCF is to educate the public and professional communities about OCD and related disorders; to provide assistance to individuals with OCD and related disorders, their family and friends; and to support research into the causes and effective treatments of OCD and related disorders."


Private Sector Resources

About OCD


An explanation of OCD in layman's terms from Healthy Place.

"Some of the most common compulsions are:

  • Cleaning. Sufferers concerned with germs and contamination tend to clean constantly, either repeatedly washing their hands, showering, or constantly cleaning their home;
  • Checking. Individuals may check several or even hundreds of times to make sure that stoves are turned off and doors are locked;
  • Repeating. Some repeat a name, phrase or action over and over;
  • Slowness. Some individuals may take an excessively slow and methodical approach to daily activities, they may spend hours organizing and arranging objects;
  • Hoarding. Hoarders are unable to throw away useless items, such as old newspapers, junk mail, even broken appliances; sometimes the hoarding reaches the point that whole rooms are filled with saved items."


OCD from Mayo Clinic

"Typical OCD obsessions revolve around:

* Fear of contamination or dirt
* Repeated doubts
* Having things orderly and symmetrical
* Aggressive or horrific impulses
* Sexual images

OCD symptoms involving obsessions may include:

* Fear of being contaminated by shaking hands or by touching objects others have touched
* Doubts that you've locked the door or turned off the stove
* Repeated thoughts that you've hurt someone in a traffic accident
* Intense distress when objects aren't orderly, lined up properly or facing the right way
* Images of hurting your child
* Impulses to shout obscenities in inappropriate situations
* Avoidance of situations that can trigger obsessions, such as shaking hands
* Replaying pornographic images in your mind
* Dermatitis because of frequent hand washing
* Skin lesions because of picking at the skin
* Hair loss or bald spots because of hair pulling

Typical compulsions revolve around:

* Washing and cleaning
* Counting
* Checking
* Demanding reassurances
* Repeating actions over and over
* Arranging and making items appear orderly

OCD symptoms involving compulsions may include:

* Washing hands until the skin becomes raw
* Checking doors repeatedly to make sure they're locked
* Checking the stove repeatedly to make sure it's off
* Counting in certain patterns"


Rufer, M.; Fricke, S.; Moritz, S.; Kloss, M.; Hand, I (2006). Symptom dimensions in obsessive–compulsive disorder: prediction of cognitive-behavior therapy outcome. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 113 (5), p440-446. link


Hasler, G., LaSalle-Ricci, V. Holland; Ronquillo, J., Crawley, S., Cochran, L., Kazuba, D., Greenberg, B., Murphy, D. (2005). Obsessive–compulsive disorder symptom dimensions show specific relationships to psychiatric comorbidity. Psychiatry Research, 135 (2), p121-132, 12p.link


"Factor I (aggressive, sexual, religious and somatic obsessions, and checking compulsions) was broadly associated with comorbid anxiety disorders and depression; Factor II (obsessions of symmetry, and repeating, counting and ordering/arranging compulsions) with bipolar disorders and panic disorder/agoraphobia; and Factor III (contamination obsessions and cleaning compulsions) with eating disorders. Factors I and II were associated with early onset OCD."


Fairbrother, Nichole; Newth, Sarah J.; Rachman, S. (2005). Mental pollution: feelings of dirtiness without physical contact. Behaviour Research & Therapy, 43 (1), p121-130, 10p.link


Lochner, Christine; Du Toit, Pieter L.; Zungu-Dirwayi, Nompumelelo; Marais, Adele; Van Kradenburg, Jeanine; Seedat, Soraya; Niehaus, Dana J. H.; Stein, Dan J. (2002). Childhood trauma in obsessive-compulsive disorder, trichotillomania, and controls. Depression & Anxiety (John Wiley & Sons Inc.), 15 (2), p66-68.





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