Obsessive compulsive disorder, also known as OCD, involves intrusive and repetitive thoughts (obsessions) typically accompanied by behaviors such as checking and counting that need to be performed, often many times (compulsions) in order to get the anxiety and uneasiness to diminish. Typical obsessive themes/thoughts can center on cleanliness, fear of contamination, and an intense need for order, where everything must be arranged just so.
Compulsive behaviors include frequent hand washing/bathing/showering, counting, and arranging. When the compulsive behavior is interrupted, anxiety spikes. Panic attacks and depression are common in OCD. The severity of OCD can range from minimal daily symptoms, such as checking the stove a few times to ensure that it’s off, to a point where most hours of the waking day are spent in an unending cycle of obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors.
As with the other anxiety disorders, OCD can co-occur with bipolar disorder, and if criteria are present for both, the two diagnoses are used.