OCD is a disorder characterized by the presence of persistent and recurrent irrational (obsessions), resulting in marked anxiety and repetitive excessive behaviours (compulsions) as a way to try to decrease that anxiety.


Obsessional thoughts: Distressing ideas, images, or impulses that enter a person’s mind repeatedly. Often violent, obscene, or perceived to be senseless, the person finds these ideas difficult to resist.



Compulsive acts or rituals: Stereotyped behaviours that are not enjoyable that are repeated over and over and are perceived to prevent an unlikely event that is in reality unlikely to occur. The person often recognises that the behaviour is ineffectual and makes attempts to resist it, but is unable to.


For example, a person may worry all the time about germs and so will wash his or her hands over and over again. Having an obsessive-compulsive disorder may cause a person to have trouble carrying out daily activities.

Examples of obsessions are a fear of germs or a fear of being hurt. Compulsions include washing your hands, counting, checking on things or cleaning. Untreated, OCD can take over your life.


OCD Diagnostic Criteria


  1. Obsessional symptoms or compulsive acts or both must be present on most days for at least 2 successive weeks and be a source of distress or interference with activities.


  1. Obsessional symptoms should have the following characteristics:

They must be recognised as the individual’s own thoughts or impulses.
There must be at least one thought or act that is still resisted unsuccessfully, even though others may be present which the sufferer no longer resists.
The thought of carrying out the act must not in itself be pleasurable (simple relief of tension or anxiety is not regarded as pleasure in this sense).
The thoughts, images, or impulses must be unpleasantly repetitive.


2015 ICD-10-CM Diagnosis Code F42