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4 Symptoms of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Obsessive-compulsive disorder, or OCD, is often depicted stereotypically within the media. We at Psych2Go think it would be useful to gain a better understanding of the disorder and how it manifests.

(OCD) is a mental disorder characterized by a pattern of unreasonable thoughts and fears. These thoughts, or obsessions, lead the sufferer to do repetitive behaviors, or compulsions. People with OCD are unable to control their obsessions and compulsions. These actions take up a great deal of time and interfere with their daily routine as well as social or work functioning.

In this article, Psych2Go will take a look at four common obsessions as well as the compulsions that accompany them.

1. Fear of contamination or dirt

Contamination OCD is when the sufferer has a pervasive sense of having some undesirable object on their body, even after washing.

According to PsychCentral, this form of OCD manifests itself along a few major themes. These are:

  • Contamination results in harm to self or others
  • Simple awareness that a contaminant is “just there”
  • Concerns over bug and insect-related contamination
  • Washing rituals as efforts to remove undesirable thoughts or ideas

The International OCD Foundation reports that contamination OCD is not limited to things like dirt, germs, and viruses. It can also include things such as:

  • Bodily excretions (urine, feces)
  • Bodily fluids (sweat, saliva, mucus, tears)
  • Blood
  • Garbage
  • Radioactivity
  • Broken glass
  • Sticky substances
  • People who appear unwell or unclean
  • Animals

Compulsions of contamination OCD include:

  • Excessive and sometimes ritualized hand washing
  • Disinfecting or sterilizing things
  • Throwing things away
  • Frequent changing of clothes
  • Creating clean areas that are off-limits to others
  • Avoiding certain places or touching things


Leave a Reply
  1. I really love how clear and concise your writing is. Your article is informative and well-balanced. I really like the examples you used to further elucidate the compulsions you talked about.

    The one thing I will say is that under the “Fear of Contamination or Dirt” section it is important to note that the contaminate can be either real or imagined.

  2. Admiral written blog n worthy information for world mental health well being.
    Thank you.
    With warm regards
    Tanya Singh

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