Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a mental health condition characterized by the presence of obsessions and/or compulsions.

If you have OCD, you probably recognize that your obsessions and compulsions are irrational—but even so, you feel unable to resist them and break free.

Obsessions are usually accompanied by intense and uncomfortable feelings such as fear, disgust, doubt, or a feeling that things have to be done in a way that is “just right.”

These obsessions are time-consuming and often interfere with important activities the person values. For instance, a person with OCD may be very motivated to get their assignment done but may be unable to start because of the persistent intrusive thought that the stove may have been left on This obsession leads this person to check whether the stove is turned off repeated (compulsion). He continues to check until he feels "OK". The time it takes to feel OK varies from person to person.

What is OCD?

Compulsions are repetitive behaviours or mental acts that a person feels an urge to perform in response to an obsession or according to rules that must be applied rigidly.

Common compulsions include:

  • Repeatedly bathing, showering, or washing hands
  • Refusing to shake hands or touch doorknobs
  • Repeatedly checking things, such as locks or stoves
  • Constant counting, mentally or aloud, while performing routine tasks
  • Constantly arranging things in a certain way
  • Eating foods in a specific order
  • Being stuck on words, images or thoughts, usually disturbing, that won't go away and can interfere with sleep
  • Repeating specific words, phrases, or prayers
  • Needing to perform tasks a certain number of times
  • Collecting or hoarding items with no apparent value
    Obsessions are repeated and persistent thoughts, desires, or images that are experienced as uninvited and unwanted.

Common obsessions include:

  • Fear of dirt or contamination by germs
  • Fear of causing harm to another
  • Fear of making a mistake
  • Fear of being embarrassed or behaving in a socially unacceptable manner
  • Fear of thinking evil or sinful thoughts
  • Need for order, symmetry, or exactness
  • Excessive doubt and the need for constant reassurance

3.0% of the population or about 900,000 Malaysians are estimated to suffer from OCD.

People with OCD are often reluctant to seek help because they feel ashamed or embarrassed.

But there's nothing to feel ashamed or embarrassed about. It's a health condition like any other – it doesn't mean you're "mad" and it's not your fault you have it.

There are effective treatments which can help you manage the symptoms and gain relief from the obsessions.

I am so obsessed with the new show "The Good Fight!"

What OCD-obsessions are not:

“Obsessing” or “being obsessed” are commonly used terms in everyday language. Usually, people use it to mean "I really like..." something or someone.

“Obsessed” in this everyday sense doesn’t lead to problems in day-to-day living and even has a pleasurable component to it. You can be “obsessed” with eating durians, but you can still meet your friend for dinner, eat other nutritious food, watch your favourite TV shows, etc., despite this obsession. Your life as you know it does not come to a halt because of this obsession.

Even if the content of the “obsession” is more serious, for example, everyone might have had a thought from time to time about getting sick, or worrying about a loved one’s safety, or wondering if a mistake they made might be catastrophic in some way, that doesn’t mean these obsessions are necessarily symptoms of OCD.

While these thoughts look the same as what you would see in OCD, someone without OCD may have these thoughts, be momentarily concerned, and then move on. In fact, research has shown that most people have unwanted “intrusive thoughts” from time to time, but in the context of OCD, these intrusive thoughts come frequently and trigger extreme anxiety that gets in the way of day-to-day functioning.