Symptoms of obessive compulsive disorder (OCD) vary from person to person. Your symptoms may come and go, get better with time, or become worse. Symptoms are time consuming and may last from an hour or more each day. Severe symptoms may interfere with your ability to develop social relationships, work, attend school, and perform household activities. Some people avoid activities or situations that seem to trigger their symptoms. This can lead to isolation and other problems, including depression.
Obsessive symptoms include thoughts, feelings, ideas, and sensations that come into your mind over and over again. Your obsessions may have nothing to do with reality, and although you realize that they are inappropriate, you may have difficulty or be unable to stop them from entering your mind. The recurrent obsessions may cause you anxiety, distress, or feelings of impending doom. Obsessions differ from person to person. Common examples include fears of getting hurt, germs, or harming someone.
Compulsions are repeated activities or rituals performed in an attempt to control or make the obsessions go away. Compulsions can include behaviors, such as repeated hand washing, touching items, putting things in order, or perfectly arranging items. It may include repeated checking, including checking to make sure a coffee pot is off, that the stove is off, or turning a light switch on and off. Compulsions can include repetitive thought processing, such as praying, counting, or repeating phrases. Compulsions can also include hoarding activities, including saving excessive amounts of paper scraps, rubber bands, tinfoil, clothes, or other items to such a degree that they disrupt a household.