What is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)?

Obsessions are intrusive and unwanted thoughts that occur repeatedly and against the person’s will.  They can produce anxiety, guilt, shame, or a sense that something doesn’t feel right.

Compulsions are the ritualized mental and/or physical behaviors that occur for lessening distress and discomfort.  Compulsions are frequently elaborate, time-consuming and costly.  Consequently, personal independence is sacrificed for the sake of avoiding imagined harm.

OCD produces considerable doubting.  Individuals living with OCD find it hard to distinguish between what is possible, what is probable, and what is unlikely to happen.

Folks with OCD ask the “What if?” question.  This is because uncertainty, or not knowing, is intolerable to them.  No one can really know for certain if harm can be avoided.  Therefore, living with uncertainty is essential to recovery for those affected by OCD.

Common Obsessions

  • Contamination: germs, dirt, oily or greasy substances, bodily fluids, chemicals
  • Harm: causing emotional or bodily harm to self or a loved one.
  • Religious: blasphemous thoughts and images, doubt about faith, possession by evil spirits or the Devil
  • Sexual: doubting sexual identity and preference, sex with children, sex with animals, doubt about acting sexually
  • Perfectionism: questioning whether something is said or done just right, needing completeness, knowing something perfectly well
  • Aggressive: antisocial acts including stabbing, shooting, mutilating children, adults and pets
  • Superstitious: lucky and unlucky numbers, words, phrases, and acts
  • Neutral: songs, noises, sounds

Common Compulsions

  • Decontamination: washing, cleaning, and disinfecting
  • Checking: locks, doors, windows, faucets, mental rehearsal
  • Magical: wearing special clothing, stepping in special ways, praying
  • Perfectionism: arranging and ordering, balancing, rewriting
  • Counting: footsteps, objects like ceiling tile and wall fixtures, multiples of numbers
  • Protective: checking on safety of loved ones, picking up glass, giving warning to others
  • Mental: rehearsing conversations, making mental lists and maps, replacing bad thoughts with good thoughts, reassuring self through reasoning
  • Movement: getting in and out of chair, reversing steps and starting over, finger tapping, touching things in special ways

Common Doubting Questions

  • Is this safe?
  • I had a bad thought. Does God hate me?
  • I like her dress. Does this mean I’m gay?
  • Is it bad luck to step on a crack?
  • He looks sick. What if I get ill and throw up?
Frank Morelli - OCD
Frank Morelli, MA, LMHC

12412 San Jose Boulevard, Suite 401
Jacksonville, FL 32223-8620
Telephone:  904-410-6324
Fax:  855-823-3434

Serving Northeast Florida including Jacksonville, Orange Park, and St. Augustine

OCD and Anxiety Disorder Specialist

Frank Morelli MA, LMHC | 12412 San Jose Boulevard, Suite 401 Jacksonville, FL 32223-8620 | (904) 410-6324

This contact form is for informational purposes only.  If this is a medical emergency, please contact 911 immediately for police assistance.

My office is easily accessible for those who live in Jacksonville, Orange Park, and Saint Augustine.  If you would like to schedule an appointment, please contact me directly at (904) 410-6324.

Your comments or questions are welcomed!