Do I Have OCD? Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Quiz

Obsessive-compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a highly treatable, common, and chronic disorder characterized by uncontrollable, recurring obsessions and compulsions that feel necessary to repeat over and over. 1.  If you suspect that you or a loved one may be suffering from OCD, you can complete this self-test to determine if you should pursue an evaluation from a healthcare professional and seek treatment.
Table of Contents

OCD Self-Test

What is Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder?

OCD is a disorder characterized by repetitive and unwanted obsessions, including thoughts, ideas, and sensations, which cause an excessive urge to engage in repetitive behaviors, known as compulsions. (2, 3) These compulsions, such as hand washing, checking, or cleaning, can drastically interfere with an individual’s ability to perform daily activities and engage in social interactions. 2

Individuals who do not have OCD may experience uncomfortable thoughts or engage in repetitive behaviors from time to time. However, someone without OCD will not experience a disruption in their daily life due to these thoughts and behaviors. 2

People who have OCD often feel great distress when they do not engage in the compulsions brought about by the obsessions they experience. While many individuals with OCD understand that their obsessions are not realistic, others may suspect that they could be true. Even those who know their obsessions are not based in reality find it challenging to disengage from obsessive thoughts or stop compulsive behaviors. 2

For someone to be diagnosed with OCD, they must experience obsessions and compulsions that take up more than one hour per day, cause extreme distress, and impact function socially and at work. 2 Stressful events can also trigger OCD events or make them worse. 4


Obsessions are repetitive and uncontrollable thoughts, images, or impulses. Individuals with OCD are disturbed by these recurring thoughts and wish they did not occur, often understanding that they are not based in reality. Obsessions usually bring about intense and uncomfortable feelings like fear, disgust, and doubt. 5 An individual with OCD will experience obsessions that are time-consuming and get in the way of daily life. Most people occasionally experience intrusive thoughts, but someone with OCD experiences these thoughts frequently, triggering extreme anxiety and challenging daily functioning. 5


Compulsions are repetitive behaviors that someone with OCD engages in to neutralize, counteract, or eliminate their obsessions. Compulsions can also include avoidance of situations that may trigger an obsession. Many individuals with OCD understand that compulsive behaviors are only a temporary solution or escape but do not have healthy or effective coping mechanisms. 5

Like obsessions, compulsions are time-consuming and get in the way of daily life. Additionally, not all repetitive behaviors or rituals are compulsions. Some repetitive activities, such as bedtime routines, religious practices, and practice learning a new skill, are a positive and functional part of life. People with OCD engage in compulsive behaviors to cope with their obsessions and would rather not engage in these repetitive activities. 5

OCD Facts

  • 2-3% of people in the US have OCD. 2
  • Slightly more men than women are affected with OCD 2
  • OCD often begins in childhood, adolescence, or early adulthood 2
  • Males usually develop OCD symptoms at a younger age than females 3
  • OCD symptoms appear usually appear at age 19 2
  • 1.2% of US adults experience OCD each year 3

Signs and Stymptoms of OCD

Signs and symptoms of OCD include a variety of obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors. While everyone engages in habits or thoughts that may sometimes repeat themselves, individuals with OCD engage in behaviors and obsessive thoughts that: 6

Obsessive Symptoms

OCD obsessions are repetitive, persistent, unwanted, and intrusive urges and images that create distress or anxiety.7

Several different obsessions may be a sign of OCD. Common OCD obsessions include those relating to contamination, fear of losing control, fear of causing harm, perfectionism, unwanted sexual thoughts, religious obsessions, and others. 5

Obsessions with contamination include a preoccupation with remaining safe from: 5
  • Body fluids (ex. Urine, feces)
  • Germs and diseases (ex. Herpes, HIV)
  • Household chemicals (ex. Cleaners, solvents)
  • Dirt
Losing Control

Obsessions with a fear of losing control include the fear of 5

  • Acting on an impulse to harm oneself
  • Acting on an impulse to harm others
  • Violent or horrific images in one’s mind
  • Blurting out obscenities or insults
  • Stealing things

Harm obsessions include the fear of 5

  • Being responsible for a horrific event (ex. Fire, burglary)
  • Harming others due to a lack of care (ex. Dropping something on the ground that could cause someone to slip and hurt themselves)

Obsessions related to perfectionism often include: 5

  • Concern with evenness or exactness
  • Needing to know or remember things
  • Fear of losing or forgetting important information when throwing things away
  • Inability to decide whether to keep things or throw them away
  • Fear of losing things
Unwanted Sexual Thoughts
Unwanted sexual thoughts generally include: 5
  • Forbidden or perverse sexual thoughts or images
  • Forbidden or perverse impulsive sexual thoughts of others
  • Sexual obsessions involving children or incest
  • Obsessions about aggressive sexual behavior towards others
Religious Obsessions
Obsessions regarding religion include: 5
  • Concern with offending God
  • Concern about blasphemy
  • Excessive concern with right or wrong morality
Other Obsessions
Other obsessions may include: 5
  • Obsessions about one’s sexual orientation
  • Concern with contracting a physical illness or disease (not by contamination)
  • Superstitious ideas about lucky/unlucky numbers or specific colors

Compulsive Symptoms

OCD compulsions are repetitive behaviors that someone with OCD feels driven to perform to reduce the anxiety associated with obsessions or prevent something terrible from happening. Unfortunately, engaging in these compulsions does not bring pleasure and can offer only temporary relief from anxiety.7

Some compulsions, such as rules and rituals used to control anxiety while experiencing obsessive thoughts, are excessive and often not realistically related to the problem they are being used to fix.7

There are many different compulsions that may be a sign of OCD. Common OCD compulsions include those relating to washing and cleaning, checking, repeating, mental compulsions, and other compulsions.7

Washing and Cleaning

Someone with OCD will often engage in washing and cleaning compulsions to relieve their obsessions with contamination. These compulsions include: 5

  • Washing hands excessively or in a certain way
  • Excessive showering, bathing, tooth-brushing, grooming, or bathroom routines
  • Cleaning household items or other items excessively
  • Engaging in any action to prevent contact with contaminants

Checking compulsions are often used to relieve obsessions with losing control, harm, and perfectionism. These compulsions include the individual checking: 5

  • That they did not or will not harm others
  • That they did not or will not hurt themselves
  • That nothing terrible happened
  • That they did not make a mistake
  • Some part of their physical condition or body

Someone with OCD may engage in repeating compulsions to help relieve obsessions with perfectionism and other obsessions. These repeating compulsions include: 5

  • Rereading or rewriting
  • Repeating routine activities (ex. Going in or outdoors, getting up or down from chairs)
  • Repeating body movements (ex. Tapping, touching, blinking)
  • Repeating activities in multiples (ex. Doing a task three times because that is a “good,” “right,” or “safe” number)
Mental Compulsions

Mental compulsions may occur to relieve many obsessions, including losing control, harm, perfectionism, and others. These compulsions can include: 5

  • Mental review of events to prevent harm
  • Praying to prevent harm
  • Counting while performing a task to end on a “good,” “right,” or “safe” number
  • “Canceling” or “Undoing” (ex. Replacing a “bad” word with a “good” one to cancel it out)
Other Compulsions

Other compulsions include: 5

  • Putting things in order or arranging them until it feels right
  • Telling, asking, or confessing to get reassurance
  • Avoiding situations that can trigger obsessions

OCD Causes and Risk Factors


Doctors do not know the exact causes of OCD.6 However, the most popular theories include:7

  • Biology. Changes in the body’s natural chemistry or brain functions may cause OCD.
  • Genetics. There may be a genetic component to the development of OCD, but no specific genes have been identified.
  • Learning. OCD symptoms may be learned by watching family members.

Risk Factors

Common risk factors for OCD include: 7
  • Having a parent, sibling, or child with OCD
  • Physical differences in specific parts of the brain
  • Depression, anxiety, or tics
  • Experience with a stressful or traumatic life event
  • Having a history of physical or sexual abuse
Children may develop OCD or symptoms of OCD after having had a streptococcal infection. This type of OCD is referred to as Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcal Infections (PANDAS). 1

Related Conditions

Certain related conditions share characteristics with OCD but are considered different conditions. These conditions include: 3
  • Body Dysmorphic Disorder. Symptoms of this disorder include obsessing over one’s appearance or body image, usually for many hours per day. Perceived flaws in appearance can cause significant distress and impact the individual’s ability to function. It can sometimes lead to bodily injury due to skin picking, excessive exercise, or unnecessary surgical procedures. 3
  • Hoarding Disorder. This disorder is characterized by collecting useless items and extreme distress when faced with the idea of throwing anything away. This disorder can create an unhealthy or dangerous space and impact the individual emotionally, physically, socially, and financially. Many people with hoarding disorder cannot see that their actions are harmful.3
  • Trichotillomania. This disorder includes the compulsive urge to pull out and sometimes eat one’s hair, including hair from eyelashes and eyebrows. Some individuals with trichotillomania are aware that they are pulling out their hair, and others engage in the act subconsciously. This disorder can cause serious injury, including repetitive motion injury and the formation of hairballs in the stomach.3

Treatment Options for OCD

If you or someone you love is struggling with OCD, it is essential to seek treatment right away. The first step in seeking treatment is starting a conversation with a healthcare professional and arranging an evaluation. This evaluation will determine if the experienced anxiety results from an actual traumatic event or other thoughts and beliefs. 8

The evaluation will also be used to determine the best treatment method based on the patient’s: 4

  • Age
  • Overall health and medical history
  • Severity of symptoms
  • Ability to handle specific medications, procedures, or therapies
  • Expected length of OCD
  • Opinions and preferences

A mental health professional will usually treat OCD with medication, psychotherapy, or both. Combining the two is generally regarded as the most effective treatment method. Individuals with OCD may also have other mental disorders, including anxiety, depression, and body dysmorphic disorder. Someone with OCD should consider these other mental disorders when exploring treatment options.1


A type of medication called serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SRIs), which include selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), are used to reduce the symptoms of OCD. SRIs are also used to treat depression; however, OCD treatment often requires higher daily doses and can take 8 to 12 weeks to start working. 1

In some cases, symptoms may not improve with the use of SRIs. These individuals may respond well to an antipsychotic medication, which can help manage OCD symptoms and tic disorder symptoms. 1

When taking a medication, it is essential to 1

  • Communicate with a doctor regarding the risks and benefits of the medication.
  • Refrain from stopping the medication until speaking with a doctor. Suddenly stopping medication can make OCD symptoms worse and can create uncomfortable or dangerous withdrawal symptoms.
  • Report concerning any side effects to a doctor immediately. A change in dose or type of medication may be required in this case.


Psychotherapy can effectively treat adults and children who experience OCD symptoms. Certain types of psychotherapy, such as cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) and other similar therapies, for example, habit reversing training, can be just as effective as medication in some cases. 1 CBT teaches new ways of thinking, behaving, and reacting to obsessions and compulsions.9 A specific type of CBT called Exposure and Response Prevention (EX/RP) includes engagement in an activity or situation that triggers compulsions without the option of acting out in the compulsion.1 EX/RP instead offers healthy coping mechanisms and can reduce compulsive behaviors associated with OCD, even in patients who did not respond to SRIs. 9

Other Treatment Options

In 2018, the FDA approved Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) as an additional treatment option for adults diagnosed with OCD. Professionals are currently exploring different treatment approaches for individuals who do not respond well to typical treatment methods. These new approaches include augmentation treatments and deep brain stimulation.1


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