Being afraid that something bad is going to happen makes you restless and feel like you have keep doing something over again. You may, for example, wash your hands again and again because you're afraid that you’ll otherwise get sick. Or you may constantly check whether the door is actually locked. If this kind of behaviour dominates your daily life, you have OCD. You’re often aware of the fact that something bad isn’t really going to happen, but you still keep getting that restless feeling and it is disrupting your life. 

What is OCD?

Everyone occasionally checks whether the door is locked, but if that is something you do numerous times a day, spending at least one hour a day engaged exclusively in "compulsive" activity, you may have OCD.

You may have the feeling that you have to keep doing something over again, often because you’re afraid something bad will happen if you don’t. You might, for example, be afraid that you'll get sick or that an accident is going to happen. And you think about this all day. You’re often aware of the fact that it isn’t really going to happen, but you keep thinking about it or you feel like you have to do something, because that makes you feel better.

OCD stands for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.
Examples of OCD:

  • Washing hands
  • Making sure the door is locked
  • Cleaning
  • Constantly recounting things
  • Having to touch things
  • Hoarding
  • Scary thoughts
  • Compulsive praying
  • Frequent and/or lengthy showering
  • Setting things down in a certain way (in a row, according to colour or in alphabetical order).

What causes OCD?

It is not entirely clear what causes OCD. It may be hereditary. This means that if one of your parents and brothers or sisters has it there is a big chance that you could also have it. However, it may also be the case that you are the only one in the family with it.

How common is OCD in children?

Roughly one out of every 400 children has OCD. 

Would you like to know more about the treatment of OCD?

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