Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder is a condition in which
you experience thoughts, images or impulses that come
into your mind that are very disturbing to you and
may make you feel anxious (Obsessions). You may then
need to perform certain acts or rituals in order to
make yourself feel better or less anxious (Compulsions).
There are a wide variety of obsessions and compulsions;
for example you may have thoughts of hurting others,
disturbing thoughts that go against your religious
beliefs, or maybe thoughts about performing unwanted
acts which may or may not be of a sexual nature, but
which you feel are highly inappropriate to who you
are. You might also be extremely troubled by dirt or
germs and feel a need to stay clean at all times; or
you may have concerns that you might have left the
door open, or left the stove on, or the taps on and
these could cause harm to yourself or others. Obviously,
when these thoughts repeatedly occur you start to feel
In order to try and keep the thoughts at bay or make
the anxious feelings go away you may find yourself
being compelled to do something to make it all stop.
These behaviours are called compulsions. Compulsions
can involve repeatedly checking things, praying, counting,
washing, touching, organizing things over and over
again until that they are symmetrical and/or ‘just
right’, along with a number of other possible
In order to receive a diagnosis of Obsessive-Compulsive
Disorder you must experience obsessions and/or compulsions
for at least an hour a day, find the thoughts and behaviors
to be very distressing and they must severely interfere
with your everyday life.
If you think you may have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder,
speak to your family physician, psychologist or psychiatrist.