What Is Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder?

From hoarding to hand-washing to forever checking the stove, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) takes many forms. It is an anxiety disorder that traps people in repetitive thoughts and behavioral rituals that can be completely disabling.

How do I know if I have OCD?

First come the obsessions-unwanted ideas or impulses that occur over and over again and are meant to drive out fears, often of harm or contamination. "This bowl is not clean enough. I must keep washing it." "I may have left the door unlocked." Or "I know I forgot to put a stamp on that letter."

Then come the compulsions––repetitive behaviors such as hand-washing and lock-checking and hoarding. Such behaviors are intended to eliminate the fear and reduce the threat of harm. But the effect does not last and the unwanted thoughts soon intrude again.

Sufferers may understand the uselessness of their obsessions and compulsions, but that is no protection against them. OCD can become so severe that it keeps people from leaving their house.

How Do I Start Treatment?

Meeting with a clinician one-on-one for a first visit is the first step in addressing your symptoms. Based on this assessment, your therapist can help you decide on the best approach to begin to work on your symptoms. Starting treatment is a big step, and we’re here to help. Our clinicians are here to answer any questions you may have, and to help you through the process of getting started. To request information or to get started with a counselor, fill out our contact us form and we will be in touch.