Most people with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) have both obsessions and compulsions, but some people experience just one or the other. The symptoms of OCD may wax and wane over time. Often, the symptoms get worse in times of stress.
Common obsessive thoughts in OCD include:
" Fear of being contaminated by germs or dirt or contaminating others
" Fear of causing harm to yourself or others
" Intrusive sexually explicit or violent thoughts and images
" Excessive focus on religious or moral ideas
" Fear of losing or not having things you might need
" Order and symmetry: the idea that everything must line up "just right."
" Superstitions; excessive attention to something considered lucky or unlucky
Common compulsive behaviors in OCD include:
" Excessive double-checking of things, such as locks, appliances, and switches.
" Repeatedly checking in on loved ones to make sure they're safe.
" Counting, tapping, repeating certain words, or doing other senseless things to reduce anxiety.
" Spending a lot of time washing or cleaning.
" Ordering, evening out, or arranging things "just so."
" Praying excessively or engaging in rituals triggered by religious fear.
" Accumulating "junk" such as old newspapers, magazines, and empty food containers, or other things you don't have a use for.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) symptoms in children
While the onset of obsessive-compulsive disorder usually occurs during adolescence or young adulthood, younger children sometimes have symptoms that look like OCD. However, the symptoms of other disorders, such as ADD, autism, and Tourette's syndrome can also look like obsessive-compulsive disorder, so a thorough medical and psychological exam is essential before any diagnosis is made.
It's also important to note that OCD is an anxiety disorder, and in children, the symptoms of anxiety usually change over time. So a child with OCD symptoms will not necessarily have OCD as an adult. What's most important is to make environmental and behavioral changes to reduce your child's anxiety.