OCD is an anxiety disorder characterised by intrusive thoughts that produce uneasiness, apprehension, fear, or worry, by repetitive behaviors aimed at reducing the associated anxiety, or by a combination of such obsessions and compulsions


Intrusive, unwanted inappropriate, recurrent, distressing thoughts

  • Filth - this plate is covered in germs
  • Harm - I might have left the oven on, I might burn my family to death
  • Lust - intrusive image of familial sex
  • Blasphemy - intrusive thought - God is the Devil


Repetitive behaviours or mental acts that aim to push the obsession out of mind, relieve anxiety caused by obsessions or prevent the feared event from reoccurring.

  • Physical compulsions; hand washing, checking, avoiding cracks
  • Mental compulsions; counting, praying


  • 3% mild
  • 0.5% severe
  • Slightly more common in men