We all have habits, patterns and routines that help us stay clean, healthy and safe. We wash our hands before eating. We lock the doors and turn off the oven before leaving the house. Humming a favourite song while working, reading before bedtime or laying out clothes for the next daz, maz be comforting rituals.
However, individuals with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) become hung up or stuck on seemingly senseless, irrational thoughts (obsessions), patterns and routines (compulsions). They recognize their thoughts and behaviors as irrational and senseless, but feel unable to stop them. Some spend hours at a time performing complicated rituals involving hand-washing, counting or checking in order to ward off persistent, unwelcome thoughts, feelings or images. Others live in terror that they will accidentally do something wrong, such as harm someone, blurt out an improper statement or throw something out by mistake.