OCD is a mental health condition characterized by repetitive, unwanted thoughts or images (called obsessions) and/or repetitive, ritualized behaviors a person is driven to do (called compulsions).
A distinctive feature of OCD is the person may know these thoughts and actions are irrational, yet have difficulty controlling them. On the other hand, children with OCD are less likely to recognize the irrationality of their obsessions or compulsions.
Although many people experience obsessions and compulsions from time to time, if these repetitive and intrusive thoughts and behaviors start to interfere with your daily life, interactions, or activities, you might have OCD.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIH), an estimated 1.2% of adults in the United States have OCD. It impacts individuals of all ages, sex, racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups.
Fundamentally, OCD involves a feeling of uncertainty, which makes an individual with this condition uncomfortable. The thoughts, fears, urges, and behaviors help ease the fear of uncertainty and doubt. Thereby, treatment often focuses on helping people accept and become more comfortable handling the uncertainties of everyday life.