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Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD): Signs & Symptoms

Signs & Symptoms

The symptoms can wax and wane. Often there is no logical relationship between the obsession or compulsion and the fears it is designed to offset; rather than reducing the anxiety the obsessions and compulsions frequently increase it.

  • Indications of frequent washing such as raw, chapped hands; high rate of soap and towel use; increase in laundry
  • Sudden drop in test grades
  • Constant doing and redoing of homework in an attempt to be perfect
  • Reworking of written work
  • Persistent fear of illness
  • Long time spend in preparing for bed or getting ready for school
  • Continual fear that something terrible will happen to self or family
  • Collecting things others might discard

Common OCD Behaviors

Common obsessions of children and teens:

  • Fear of dirt or germs
  • Need for order; things must always be in a certain place
  • Thoughts of nonsense words or images
  • Religious obsessions
  • Preoccupation with body wastes
  • Sexual or aggressive thoughts
  • Fear of harm to self or family members

Common compulsions of children and teens:

  • Excessive hand washing, showering, bathing, and tooth brushing
  • Touching rituals
  • Ordering and arranging articles
  • Repetition of rituals, such as putting clothes on and off, moving in a special way
  • Hoarding and collecting things
  • Counting rituals
  • Checking drawers and locks