People with obsessive compulsive disorder feel the need to check things repeatedly, or have certain thoughts (obsessions) or perform routines and rituals over and over. These thoughts and rituals cause distress and get in the way of daily life. The urge to repeat rituals or behaviors is called compulsions. People with OCD cannot control their obsessions and compulsions. No one knows for sure why some people have OCD but it sometimes runs in families.
Symptoms of OCD may come and go and be better or worse at different times. Symptoms include having repeated thoughts or images about many different things (fear of germs, hurting loved ones, sexual acts, or being overly tidy.) People with OCD perform the same rituals over and over (washing hands, locking and unlocking doors, counting, etc.) However, people with OCD do not obtain pleasure from performing their rituals; instead they get brief relief from the anxiety that their thoughts cause them. OCD is generally treated with psychotherapy, medication, or both.