When should I call my doctor if I have obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)?

If you have obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) you should call your doctor any time you feel your symptoms are interfering with your daily life, work or relationships. OCD is a type of anxiety disorder. It causes someone to have repeated unwanted thoughts or fears (obsessions), and to perform certain rituals or behaviors repeatedly (compulsions) to try to overcome those thoughts.

For example, a common obsession in people who have OCD is a fear of germs. This obsession may cause the person to wash his or her hands repeatedly, and/or to clean the house obsessively. The rituals or behaviors related to OCD can become time-consuming and have a significant impact on your daily life. For example, a need to continually check the doors and windows may prevent you from being able to leave the house at will. Quality of life can be substantially lowered by OCD since it can greatly affect your ability to work and have relationships.

People who have OCD can be treated successfully with a combination of therapy and medication. Call your doctor if you find that your obsessions and compulsions are interfering with your ability to lead a normal life, and/or if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms:
  • You feel anxious or worried.
  • You are having trouble sleeping.
  • You feel guilty.
  • You feel sad or hopeless.
  • You are having trouble enjoying things that used to bring you pleasure.
  • You are having thoughts of suicide.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.