Skip left navigation
Subscribe to Illnesses and Disabilities email updates.
Illnesses and Disabilities
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a type of anxiety disorder. People with OCD have repeated, unwanted thoughts and behaviors they cannot control. These thoughts are called obsessions. An example of an obsession would be a fear of germs. To try to make obsessive thoughts go away, people with OCD perform repeated actions, such as hand washing, counting, checking, or cleaning. These repeated actions are called compulsions. Compulsions provide only temporary relief from obsessive thoughts. And not doing these actions causes anxiety. Left untreated, these thoughts and behaviors can take over a person's life. This can make it hard, if not impossible, for people with OCD to go to work or school, or have normal relationships with friends and families. Treatment, such as medicine and therapy, can help.
Return to top
More information on Obsessive-compulsive disorder
Explore other publications and websites
- Employees With Mental Health Impairments (Copyright © Job Accommodation Network) - This report outlines basic information about common limitations, useful questions to consider, and accommodation possibilities for people who have psychiatric disabilities.
- Mental Health Services Locator - This website will help you locate mental health treatment facilities and support services in your state.
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (Copyright © Anxiety Disorders Association of America) - This publication explains what obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is and discusses the causes, symptoms, and treatments. It also includes an OCD self-test that you can go over with your doctor.
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) - This publication explains what obsessive-compulsive disorder is, including its signs, symptoms, and treatment options. It also links patients to support services and treatments.
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: What It Is and How to Treat It (Copyright © American Academy of Family Physicians) - This online publication provides information on obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and other common obsessions, compulsions, and illnesses related to OCD.
- Overcoming OCD: A Guide for College Students (Copyright © OCD Chicago) - This manual for college students explains how having obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) might affect your success in school and in life and offers advice about who to talk to and how to get help. It also explains the difference between OCD and obsessive-compulsive personality disorder.
- Relief From OCD: A Guide for People With Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (Copyright © OCD Chicago) - This guide dispels many of the myths about obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and sets the record straight on how it can affect your life. It also describes some of the common related or co-occurring conditions that affect people with OCD, and gives advice about how to choose a therapist.
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: When Unwanted Thoughts Take Over - This easy-to-read booklet on obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) explains what it is, when it starts, how long it lasts, and how to get help.
Connect with other organizations
Content last updated: September 22, 2009.
Resources last updated: September 18, 2013.
Return to top